Lionel was an elderly man with failing health when we came, but his enthusiasm for new ideas was a revelation to me. His was a garden into which only the best forms of plants were allowed, a garden of colour-coordinated, well-grown plants with no detail of colour overlooked. A Himalayan blue poppy, Meconopsis grandis, daring to be anything other than a pure azure blue was swiftly consigned to the bonfire. The walled garden stands today as one of the best in the country, and is a lasting tribute to Lionel and Katharine, left as it was to a charity, the Fortescue Garden Trust. By 1992, following the deaths of Lionel and Katharine, the number of people wishing to visit the garden had grown so great that the trustees decided to expand into a nearby four-acre field.
This new area, stretching west from the front of the house and the walled garden had views over the church in Buckland Mona-chorum towards the Cornish hills. When the new extension opened, a new style of gardening was ushered in, inspired not by other gardens but by natural landscapes and the associations plants make in the wild. We had been on holiday in Crete to see the flowers there in April. At that time of year, the island is amazingly green and the wild flowers are reminiscent of our own ABOVE The cottage ‘ruin’ is almost lost among a mass of flowers. Living rooms images BELOW The view west from the new cottage garden over Buckland Monachorum to the mist-shrouded Cornish hills. OPPOSITE A Persian-carpet tapestry of creeping thyme and rhodohypoxis in the quarry garden which adjoins the cottage garden.