Garden Portrait: Coleton Fishacre

Garden Portrait: Coleton Fishacre

Welcome to Coleton Fishacre in south Devon, a gorgeous Art Deco style house and a beautiful valley garden that leads you to a coastal viewpoint. The house was built in the 1920s and the country home of the D’Oyly Carte family (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame). A 30 acre garden surrounds the house and the National Trust are recreating it as it once would have been with the help of photographs and planting books kept by the family.

There are many steep steps in the garden and slopes especially at the bottom, so it can be quite a challenging garden to walk around. Due to the high humidity created by the sea and the stream that runs through the valley many exotic plants thrive here under the canopy of the trees.

Paths lead from the house down the valley and on either side, with many smaller paths, slopes, steps meandering through the slopes. One minute you can be in a typical English woodland scene with bluebells and ransoms,

the next in an exotic jungle with Chilean Firetrees, Banana plants and Dracaenae.

Plants from South America, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia rub noses with English cottage garden plants; Azaleas and Rhododendrons hide behind tall stands of bamboo; Magnolias flirt with Chilean Myrtles. Someone here had fun choosing the planting, it is colourful and eclectic and lush.  You never know quite what lies ahead.

And from the delightful Gazebo, which can be reached via a lawned-path, you get a wonderful glimpse of the sea.

The gardens have a lovely courtyard tea room which serve lunches as well as cakes, a National Trust shop and an interesting range of plants for sale too. The route to the gardens is along a narrow road for the latter part, but this is only for a short distance and there are passing places. Quite often coaches arrive for lunch-time so if you want a quieter visit then choose earlier in the morning or late afternoon. Or do as we did and stay in one of the cottages so you can visit the garden at any time you like.

IF YOU ENJOY A WALK, LONG OR SHORT, THEN HAVE A LOOK AT JO’S SITE WHERE YOU ARE WELCOME TO JOIN IN WITH HER MONDAY WALKS.

Macro Monday #39

Macro Monday #39

(click to enlarge to full size)

After quite a break from macro photography I found an excuse to put on the Macro 60mm lens once again for some floral shots recently. This pretty flower is the African Hemp and one I have not seen before. It was growing in a large container in a sheltered position, under cover.

Sparrmannia are large evergreen shrubs or small trees, with simple or palmately lobed, ovate leaves and umbels of 4-petalled, white or purple flowers with prominent stamens. S. africana is a vigorous evergreen shrub to 6m or more, with large, broadly ovate, shallowly lobed leaves and clusters of white flowers 3.5cm across, with red and yellow stamens which shake when knocked.

Plant Focus

Plant Focus

My final tulip offering is ‘Prinses / Princess Irene which is the exotic colour of a sunset. Electric orange and stripes of violet and rust make this one of the most exciting tulips I grew this year. It is long-lasting and contrasts beautifully with a very dark tulip such as ‘Paul Scherer’ or ‘Havran’. They seem to glow in the sun and look fantastic in pots.

Plant Focus

Plant Focus

One of the last tulips to show is this lovely slightly scented ‘Bruine Wimpel’ or ‘Malaika’ described as brandy-snap or caramel brown and lilac-pink. Not a brown tulip as such, but like a delicate tea stained silk, the colours are unusual and quite beautiful. And long-lasting too.

I’m  not sure if mine were true to form as they appeared much more orange than I thought they would be, although in the sunlight it is hard to capture their true colours.  Next to my other orange tulips though they definitely had a brownish hue.