My mom, sisters, brother and bros-in-law visited southwestern England earlier this month in search of King Arthur. Actually, only Mom, who turned 79 on Sept. 5, was actively seeking the studly lord of Camelot. What I really wanted was an authentic cottage garden. I found lots of thatched-roof cottages (adorable!), surprising gardens and gardens in surprising places in the land of Jane Eyre, Daphne du Maurier and Marion Zimmer Bradley. But a true cottage garden crammed with roses and hollyhocks, veggies and moss-covered paver paths? Not a one! Still, I wasn’t disappointed. (OK, a little bit. I guess it’s like coming to Florida and not seeing a dolphin.) Here’s a sampling of some of my favorites.
The storefront garden
The original vertical garden?
Vertical gardens, also called living walls, are all the rage. Of course, I want! I have the containers for creating a hanging succulents arrangement (thank you, Becky Perry), but that’s going to be a project. It would be so much easier if the plants just rooted themselves in my ancient (circa 1979) concrete block walls.
The floating garden
The Kennet & Avon Canal is an 87-mile long waterway of rivers linked by canals winding through southern England. Built in 1810 and once plied by work boats, today, it’s home to 7-foot-wide houseboats, called narrow boats. A colorful sight! And how better to brighten things up even more than a boat-top garden.
The beer garden
If I lived in England, I could get used to the lunchtime half-pint. And, apparently, I’m not alone.
The bicycle basket garden
Spotted this parked in front of a bed-and-breakfast in one of the villages where we stopped by for lunch.