A touch of normality

My friend Marie runs a beautiful guesthouse near the coast between Cardigan and Aberystwyth. A very old farmhouse had a new Front added in Georgian times and must have been quite something with its day with its walled garden, stables and huge pleasure garden. But by the time Marie bought it its was in serious need of an upgrade inside and the garden was badly overgrown. A group of her friends volunteered to come for a weekend to help clear the brambles and ‘Slash and Burn’ was born. Twice a year until Covid intervened anyone who felt like a weekend of hard work but in a beautiful place with great (vegetarian) food was invited to help. I have been going for several years but as I live locally and have the dogs and cats to consider I just go for one of the days. It is huge fun working with a team some of whom I know from previous years and some I have never met before. The house is now warm and comfortable and the gardens beautiful but still with plenty of wildness. Take a look at the website https://overtherainbowwales.co.uk/

The house had been in the same family for generations but one by one parts of the estate had been sold until the last surviving member had only the gatehouse lodge which he used as a holiday home and the walled garden which was next to Marie’s vegetable patch. A few years ago he decided to sell the walled garden and Marie took the chance to buy it. In amongst the old apple trees were self seeded Ash and Sycamore which were, by this time, mature. The box hedging which edged the original beds was 20 feet high. The archway in was crumbling and the walls covered in ivy.

So for the last few years each ‘slash and burn’ has included work on the walled garden and this, the first since Covid struck, was no exception. Of course, Marie, her partner Rose, their indefatigable neighbour Andrew and their friend Hannah who volunteered throughout one winter, have done the bulk of the work. The self seeded trees, have been grubbed up, the box cut back severely, the ground cleared, the arch repaired and it is now a fruit garden. An old polytunnel frame has become a fruit cage, the box is recovering, and the bottom picture is not a graveyard but supports for raspberry canes!

In the meantime Marie and Rose took over a local business Fox Hill preserves making and selling jams, marmalades and chutneys so a flourishing fruit garden is exactly what they need. You can find them here https://www.welshfoodanddrink.wales/listing/foxhill-preserves/

Being there has been like being inside the children’s book ‘The Secret Garden’!

15 thoughts on “A touch of normality

  1. Anne March 27, 2022 / 4:24 pm

    What a LOT of hard work has gone into this yet so rewarding.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales March 28, 2022 / 9:25 am

      I dn’t knw where Marie and Rose find the energy but it is lovely t see the walled garden productive again


  2. Lorna March 27, 2022 / 5:51 pm

    What a rewarding endeavor to join! Love the pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales March 28, 2022 / 9:25 am

      Thank you! I love going there.


  3. onesmallstitch March 27, 2022 / 8:17 pm

    so well named, it is indeed “over the rainbow”. Looks like it would be a lovely, comfortable and welcoming place to stay. I did wonder about all those crosses until I had a closer look!


  4. Laurie Graves March 28, 2022 / 1:10 am

    Impressive how much hard work went in to fixing the house. If ever we come to Wales, we will know where to stay.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales March 28, 2022 / 9:26 am

      I think you would love it Laurie – trees all around like at your home, cosy log fires in winter and yummy vegetarian food.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Luffy March 28, 2022 / 6:32 am

    What a wonderful place ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales March 28, 2022 / 9:27 am

      I love visiting. A long way from Skye though!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. nanacathy2 March 29, 2022 / 11:17 am

    It looks idyllic. Maybe one day when I am brave enough I shall stay.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Going Batty in Wales March 30, 2022 / 10:06 am

      You are very brave Cathy! You have done loads since your husband died wven though it has scared you sometimes.


  7. Helen April 2, 2022 / 11:38 am

    Lovely! Makes me want to volunteer but too far to


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