The Garden

quarry-view From a 19th century map you can see that the area now occupied by the cottage was already opened up in 1862 when the map was surveyed. The purpose was probably for quarrying stone. On the cut-away section of this site the house was built in the 1880s. The photo shows there is a sharp drop from the bank down to the 1st floor. It’s a tricky place for scything (See blog post 22 June 2009).

The surrounding steep fellside round the Larches – up to 30° in places – provides us with opportunities as well as challenges. The potential for creating a garden with wildlife havens, natural rock, changing vistas and levels, seasonal contrasts, varied plantings, and stunning viewpoints is enormous.

Gaining access to the steep fell has required a vision, careful planning and hard work. Over the years we’ve worked to tame the environment, with a rough pathway round the cottage at first floor level, with some terracing on the south side and by limited tree clearing. But it wasn’t enough. We knew a step change in approach was needed.

139_3979 Little use until recently had been made of the garden for several reasons:
• Poor access from the back of the house
• Collapsed terracing
• Lack of level areas
• No pathways to the top section
• Invasive gorse and bracken
• Limited sunny areas
• Large trees up to 50 feet high

Garden IMG_9171 We wanted to use the garden for reading, eating, bird-watching, planning, bowls, music, BBQs, social activity – and even weather forecasting! Although most of us come to a Lakeland cottage to enjoy the walks and the mountain countryside, we felt sure that people would respond with enthusiasm just like us to a garden with attractive shrubs and flowers which they could get access and enjoy.

We knew also that there would be commanding views from the top of the garden for anyone who could get there. Photos below of members of our family in recent years climbing to high places have been part of the inspiration for this project and for the new Belvedere. The two photos at the bottom of the page are taken on nearby Eel Crags on the Coledale Horseshoe; and beside a 10,000 feet high mountain shelter above Tiger Leaping Gorge on the River Yangtze (Yunaan, China).

belvedere_marshes2 In 2005 we decided we would start opening up the fellside. We began by discussing this with landscape designer-gardener Rob Holder from Penrith (pictured below), whose contribution to the construction and look and feel of the garden has been central. The process has involved 11 separate stages over the last four years.

The work in the garden has been carried out with advice and help from the people below. We describe this work in two sub-sections, the first covering the garden landscaping and the second covering planning and building the Belvedere (See 2009 photo of the Belvedere opposite from the marshes with the forest behind).

Landscaping, walls and steps :: :: Rob Holder of RH Gardens, Penrith
Planning advice :: :: Lake District Planning Board, Kendal
Forestry advice :: :: Forestry Commission, Peel Wyke
Tree felling work :: :: The Tree Company, Cockermouth
Building supplies :: :: JT Atkinson, Builders’ merchants
Belvedere Design :: :: John Cook, Architect
Belvedere foundations :: :: Lakeland Stonecraft Builders, Keswick
Belvedere construction :: :: Stanley’s Joiners, Keswick
Sedum roof construction :: :: Brian Whittaker Roofing, Penrith
Belvedere rose rain chain :: :: Coppa Gutta Ltd, Southampton
Stainless steel deck rigging :: :: Nichol End Marine, Portinscale