A sense of journey


I have the luxury of being able to visit the Garden House in Devon twice a year at the moment.  My youngest son is at University in Plymouth and the garden is no more than 30 minutes up the road from his student house on the edge of Dartmoor.  We have taken to visiting when I pick him up or take him back.  So far we have visited in April and September and it is interesting to see a garden change through the year.  There has also been a change of Head Gardener and it was obvious from our visit this week, our third, that some changes were occurring, more in technique than anything grand but it did feel a little different.


The weather was strange; pleasant and warm in the sheltered areas but when you were a little exposed there was a fierce windy whipping through the garden.  It made visiting the Acer glade quite interesting with ducking required to avoid branches whipping around.


When we have visited before the wild flower meadow (top) and (above) were either well over or hadn’t really made a start.  We were both struck with how wonderful the garden looked so virdant and fresh and everything blooming away.  We were told on arrival that it was a little behind so we got to see lots of Azaleas and Rhododendrons which would normally have been over.


What struck me when I reviewed my photographs were how many I had taken of paths through the planting.  I have noticed that many of my garden visit photographs have this theme.  I really like the sense of journey and rhythm paths create especially when they lead round a corner creating mystery and interest.


I suspect this is what has been deep in my sub-conscious when I have been messing around with my garden and deciding what to do about the lawn.  It is always why I am probably so pleased with the way the paths are working in the back garden, they have turn and I am hoping that as the planting grows up over the next few years that they will have a sense of mystery.

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It isn’t just the casual meandering paths I like.  I also like the scale and formality of the wide grass path between the borders below.  In case you are wondering why the back wall seems to have two completely different kinds of stone this is because  the original wall was blown over last year.  When we visited in April I think there was a forlorn pile of stone with a notice explaining and lots of hazard tape around it.  The arch leads to the new arboretum which was planted up last year and I think will be wonderful in a few years when the trees have grown.


I wonder how my visit this September will compare to last September.  It will be interesting to see if the plants catch up from the slow start.  But then who knows what the weather will bring between now and then.

Author: Helen Johnstone

I live in Malvern, Worcestershire and am a very keen gardener. I started the Patient Gardener Blog in January 2008 as a way of recording what was happening in my garden and connecting with other like-minded people. I started a second blog PatientGardener 365 January 2013 in order to try and post a photo a day to capture what is growing in my garden or places I have visited

13 thoughts on “A sense of journey”

  1. It’s a bit different from posting a monthly end of month view of our own gardens, isn’t it? A twice yearly view will show some massive changes and yet will still vary from year to year according to the lateness of the seasons I suppose. It will be far lusher now than in September, I expect, and of course great to be there at rhodendron and azalea time. You are right about the paths, and there is something different about a mown grass path, ethereal perhaps?

  2. Your first photo shows what a beautiful setting the garden has, such lush rolling hills behind. I love the soft mounds of colour in the Acer garden around the little wooden bridge. The curved gravel paths work well next to the more informal plantings, and the straight grass path suits the moire formal setting in the last photo.

  3. Just lovely. I have a hayfield behind my home and below it a pond. I have mowed paths through the field for many years in sweeping curves, changing them a bit each year, making the trip to the pond an adventure for the grandkids. Just love your paths through your garden. Marion in New England

  4. The white-bark tree (birch?) in the meadow makes the scene appear to be a painting. Are the rocks in the center of the photo a natural outcrop or were they placed for structure? Very natural looking and effective.

  5. Lucky you, able to go garden visiting while dropping your son off at University. The Garden House is a superb garden and we enjoy visiting it too. Also in the village of Buckland Monachorum is the garden and nursery of Keith Wiley, a former head gardener of The Garden House and well worth a visit too.

    1. Hi Pauline
      I would like to visit WIldside (Keith Wiley’s garden) but his opening hours are few and dont fit with when I am down there

  6. What an inviting path through the wildflower meadow – those gentle curves are more natural than straight lines. So considerate of youngest 🙂 Is it already year’s end?

    1. Hi Anna
      Yes end of year 2 already, seems like only yesterday that he started.

  7. The meadow paths are beautiful, Your photos really encourage me to want walk along them, thank you. Our youngest daughter is at Loughborough, we have been visiting Barnsdale and the rutland area en route home, I found it quite therapeutic.

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