All the colours of the rainbow in Hesketh Bank garden

PUBLISHED: 02:05 29 June 2012 | UPDATED: 21:34 20 February 2013

All the colours of the rainbow in Hesketh Bank garden

All the colours of the rainbow in Hesketh Bank garden

A Hesketh Bank couple have created a garden capable of lifting the spirits, writes Linda Viney

When the sun is in the sky, the rainbow of colours in Denis and Susan Watsons country garden at Hesketh Bank set the spirits soaring. But when the wind blows in from the Irish Sea you better watch out. The nearby coast means it is very exposed to salt-laden, gale force winds. Whats more, lying at sea level presents a risk of flooding in winter.

Solving those two problems was the priority when they bought their home, Wedgwood, 16 years ago. It had been a nursery and they inherited a paddock, a lot of daffodils, old trees and a lawn. They cleared the site, installed drainage and created a wind break with 100 trees plus shrubs. They have now matured and are doing the job that was intended.

In some areas the soil was shallow, in others it was fertile and deep. They were offered a commercial tomato glasshouse, which they took apart piece by piece and moved on a trailer. It was then rebuilt into a productive greenhouse which is protected with bubble wrap in winter as tender plants are brought in.

It was quite a task making sure we knew which pane was going where, Denis laughs as the recalls the magnitude of the job. He has laid heated coils in the troughs and work begins in February sowing the seeds of annuals in trays and pots which he has carefully washed in an old bath.

The glasshouse has almost become their second home, a haven when visitors come and the weather is cold and wet. They can sit surrounded by tomatoes, figs and many other plants. Adjacent is a very sheltered patio which is a sun trap.

Their garden covers an acre with myriad different areas. Theres a shady walkway through small woodland, a gravel garden, a rootery and ornamental grasses plus a wealth of herbaceous and vibrant bedding.

Their Rainbow Garden proves that plants are their passion and, since retiring from teaching, Susan is able to spend more time tending them.
The Rainbow Garden was an idea from close friend and garden historian, Elaine Taylor, when Susan wanted a project for one of the paddocks. She is the first to admit she isnt a designer and with the help of Elaine she created a parterre style with a central gazebo.

There are eight coloured beds and two white ones, bark paths link the colour themed beds which are stunning with perennials and climbers up archways and pergolas. Once completed they decided to open the garden for the National Garden Scheme (NGS). In the other paddock they planted fruit trees allowing the native grasses and wild flowers to bloom.

These are now doing well since they sowed yellow rattle a few years ago, to stunt the natural grass. Mown paths lead you through. At the side of the house they inherited a pond which, like the surrounding area was very overgrown. Here, Denis and friends constructed a 100 feet of eight foot trellis and a pergola. They decided it would be an ideal place for a gravel garden with plant filled pots, alpines and thyme. The water adds tranquillity.

They have successfully created different areas and the front lawn with Wimbledon stripes forms the setting for the woodland and shrubs complete with shade loving plants. On a hot day this is a welcome place. It was the first time Susan had tried using ornamental grasses and the stipa giganteum looks wonderful with its swaying stems. The garden is certainly looked after with love and devotion.

It is hard to believe what we have achieved in a relatively short time, Susan says. We moved from Leyland where we had a third of an acre and as we were nearing retirement wanted a challenging project. I love it as does Denis. Winter or summer, whether in the glasshouse or outside, we are rarely indoors.

The garden opens for the NGS on Saturday and Sunday 23th and 24th June but if you missed it they open by appointment during July. Telephone 01772 816509 or email Admission 3 children free.

The print version of this article appeared in the July 2012 issue of Lancashire Life
We can deliver a copy direct to your door order online here

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