The Garden Room
Updated: Mar 6, 2020
I once found a quote that read: “the wind is a kindly spirit”. Delightful words to reflect on, particularly during a warm sunny day when the wind is a gentle, playful breeze, but perhaps slightly less applicable when windspeeds become powerful enough to be named.
Storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge have taken turns to visit us in Weare Giffard during February, raising water levels in the village and arbitrarily rearranging any items not bolted down. Coming off far lighter than in other parts of the country we have nevertheless needed to respond, recover and adapt to this turn in weather. Completion of works to the Glasshouse roof was enthusiastically brought forward as the first storm whipped in. Ciara used her wiles on Ian, coaxing him into ‘battening down the hatches’ to seal the building once and for all. She then conspired with Dennis to wreak havoc on our green house, de-glazing it all bar a few measly panes. Broken glass, recycle bins, rubbish bags and other flotsam (various) now retrieved and tidied away, we have taken the decision to relocate (and re-glaze!) the greenhouse to the leeward side of the garden, and have wasted no time in planting up the now wind-free Glasshouse.
Our beautiful ten-foot-tall evergreen jasmine now has her feet firmly rooted in one of the planters Ian built, and is wending her way up and along the interior walls of the lime kiln toward the yoga studio. She has been joined by apricot, lime, lemon, orange and plum trees as well as an abundance of thyme to further fragrance the space.
This influx of greenness has actually brought about a name change to the building. Deciding once and for all that ‘The Glasshouse’ really was rather too Kew-like we are now calling it ‘The Garden Room’ after a room of the same name found at Ian's grandmother’s old house in Sussex. Granny Denmans as she came to be known, was a respected plants woman who created Denmans Garden back in the 1940s, a garden still open to the public today (www.denmans.org). Much in the same way we will, she used her Garden Room to enjoy a wide vista of her garden whatever the weather, bringing the outdoors…in, so it feels fitting that in a small way we pay homage to this amazing woman by adopting the same name.
With the wind now easing off, resuming its kinder quality, allowing our resident Kingfisher (Kevin) safe passage back to his lakeside perching place, I find myself musing over what Granny Denmans would make of Hadlow. Certainly, she would be proud of her grandson, the creative vision he has undoubtedly inherited from her, his seemingly tireless work ethic, not to mention his shared love of gravel. More than that I imagine she would be delighted that he derives as much enjoyment through working in the garden as she would have done, keeping up the deeply rooted family tradition of creating beautiful gardens for all to enjoy.