And so we started at the back …….

For the first 18 months we just cleared the areas where plants had been left to grow wild – blackberries and weeds of every sort were thriving – and no pruning meant ground covers had turned into bushes!.

Trees at Uccello Lane
We did the back first as there was a lot of undergrowth and snakes were on our mind. Trav the Treeman came to look at the many trees and pruned back as well as removing dead trees and dangerous branches. That made all the difference and we started to see how amazing the “bones” of the garden were – many large trees of all kinds – over 30 years old at least were priceless and remain to this day a feature of the garden.

“The Bank”
Next we looked at the at the gardens that we could through the windows from our house – “The Bank”. It was my view out of my study and as I work from home in 2020 I am so glad that we started the planting then – as it looks wonderful all year round. The Wisteria frames the view especially out of the conservatory.

Edibles
Just past “the Bank” is the edible garden. It is here we grow our vegetables especially tomatoes in raised garden beds. We have some flower beds to plant seasonal color like our poppies & cosmos, herbs like coriander, parsley and the rosemary hedge. Behind that is the chook pen “Casa di Paolo” and some fruit trees like lemon, pear & figs.

Next….
So by now we were ready to tackle the back area – it was vast but I had in mind a Secret Garden, a Birch Forest and a Wisteria Colonnade – I had been reading everything I could about Edna Walling & Ellis Stone. I wanted a natural roomed garden full of surprises but there was a lot of work ahead. Adam from Three Colors Green and I talked for ages – we thought we needed a plan – but as we later discovered everything evolved.

The Secret Garden
Wisteria Colonnade
Birch Forest
Edna Walling – Gardener

Bickleigh Vale: the Garden

Bickleigh Vale is the epitome of Edna Walling, where she not only designed the garden, but the houses also.
Design elements of Bickleigh Vale include:

  • a series of outside rooms.
  • sensitivity to site – quite relaxed, informal and romantic.
  • mass planting to frame the lawn that spreads through the garden, leading the eye.
  • English cottage plants such as helabore, azalea, daphne, berberis, dogwood and viburnum.
  • also Camelia’s and always a Wisteria Colonnade
  • trees include oak, beech and birches.
  • gateways and paths that link the cottages.
  • birdbaths, stone walls and “Secret Rooms”
  • …..and always a Wisteria Colonnade

“The Bank”

By late spring in 2019 after the hot summer we had some good rainfall – and  “The Bank” was lush. Everything was in flower the wisteria, snowball trees, lily pillis to bring the birds  and  lavender. 

“The Bank” is viewed from the study, the craft room or the conservatory. It is always on show –  but it was not always this way – in fact the exact opposite!.

 

BEFORE

In July 2013 we decided to remove everything from the bank and start again. There was nothing really growing and the soil was very poor.

First we had to clear away the existing trees and weeds. Trav’s Trees came with their chainsaws and this was the first of many visits to maintain and manage trees at Uccello Lane.

Wisteria Colonnade – it’s done and it is spectacular!

We had a wisteria that had been neglected on the back fence, but as you know that does not stop wisteria – in fact they thrive on neglect but it did not seem to flower!

It has been a couple of years in the making but yes the Wisteria Colonnade is now complete. It fits into the garden in scale and provides the feature against the back boundary where 5 Scarlet ash grow. Mary-lou’s tiles on the floor are perfect and sitting on the seat looking down over the garden is peaceful and rewarding in the early morning. The Secret Garden can be seen peeping through the Wisteria and is linked by a pathway that rambles down.

BEFORE

So once we had the birch forest we clearly had to have one of Edna Walling’s favorite features – a Colonnade. Edna Walling loved to put in colonnades and the wisteria is an obvious choice as they are so vigorous and when in flower provide a beautiful show. After discussions and pictures, Scott Brown said “yes, he would give it a crack – sort of like a fancy pergola”. So he built it – and then he fine tuned it, added more wire, draped the wisteria over it and guess what – Yes it was a Wisteria Colonnade!