Treligga, Delabole

On June 13th we had a most enjoyable morning exploring this idyll on the North Coast near Delabole.  Blasted with storm force gusts, salt-laden-spray-rain straight off the Atlantic six days ago, how could we hope to find such a beautiful tranquil garden that melded intimate sheltered spaces with an open meadow field with views over Port Isaac Bay to Rumps Point? The changing pattern of sea colour, huge cumulus, alternate light and shade were moments to treasure.

How was it done? It took time and cunning planning.  Twenty-seven years ago Bett and Mick Hartley planed to build the wind break hedges and tree planting which would create sheltered areas for delicate plants. The robust meadow would look after itself.

Coffee, on the levelled space excavated by them and laid with the local slate stone, surrounded by such varieties of plants that very few were able to identify entirely, began the exploration. After a short introduction by Bett, who pointed out the architecture of the house and its alterations, we set off in all directions. Yellow poppies lined the path to a lily pond where arums were thriving. Roses and alpines were everywhere through a delightful sheltered corner.  We found the Long Hay Rope Barometer which gave us the weather conditions: rope dry = dry weather; rope wet = rain; can’t see rope = fog.
Out of the shelter and into the meadow. Close cropped pathways invited a ramble. (Also heaven for two of the dogs, Basil and Bertie racing and arguing as they circled the track at speed.)  At the high end of the meadow, a wild grove of trees, with an old picnic table lopsided and mossy, gave an atmosphere of fun and games in times past.  The variety of the grasses in the meadow, the clover, the orchids, hawkweed, yellow rattle and the entire hedgerow spotted with red campion – it was a catalogue of interesting plant life.  And the cunning part of all this… one mow in late summer, and the scattering of wild seeds, either by design or wind power, and that’s it.

Practical planning was here too .In the top corner, solar panels for winter, in the bottom corner, the food supplies. A series of plots filed with salads and fruits, surrounded by roses and sweet william.

Lying in the sun on the compost heap was the head of meadow security… a comfortable cat fast asleep in the sun. Back into the sheltered section to the rose arch, curry plant, and so many heady scents. The Rope barometer was threatening imminent wetness as we said goodbye to two dedicated gardeners, who had defied the odds and created this beauty on the rocky edge of north Cornish coast.

Many thanks go to Bett and Mick for their warm welcome and sharing this jewel with us.

Tony Bishop Stephens