To drive to Chilcombe is an eye-stretching experience. The lane dips then climbs away from the A35 soaring to a high plateau and spreading the coastline of all Lyme Bay before you with an extravagance that makes you feel that nature might have gone just a little over the top in the natural beauty department. Over to the left, behind a screen of beeches is an area of outstanding not-so-natural beauty, the celebrity garden of the artist John Hubbard. And alongside that is the astonishing secret garden of the celebrity garden’s gardener, Andy Lane.
Bright green palm leaves, swaying against a gentle breeze; peonies bursting out in bloom; the smell of freshly cut grass — it’s all deliciously relaxing.
Very much at the heart of our green and pleasant land, we British have always loved botanicals: on our walls and upholstery, framed or on frocks, we are instantly captivated by plants and flowers
How does a gee-whizz gardener, used to managing a famous space of several acres, adapt to retirement and a smaller plot of land?
Anne King visits one of the area’s growing number of eco-homes to find out what’s involved in living off-grid.
It was 16 years ago that Pat Bowcock moved into a tiny caravan in an empty pony paddock on the outskirts of Litton Cheney.
She had a dog for company, but no power or facilities, or, it turned out on the first night, even a torch.
She had been living in a lovely house in Litton. She was married to a head teacher, was a mum with two children and had a steady job with a GP.
But she felt an increasing desire to live in a different way.
The writer Roger Deakin in his book Wildwood talked about the trees at his home at Walnut Tree Farm as his friends and mainstays.