This illustrated talk captured the skill and pleasure Pauline and David experienced creating two gardens from scratch. They give talks and open their garden to raise funds for a head and neck cancer charity founded by the surgeon who treated Pauline.

In the 1980’s they bought a run-down house and garden in Somerset intriguingly called ‘Lift the Latch’, not an instruction on the gate but the house name. They were fortunate to have the beginnings of a pond which after much excavation provided the focus of the garden. With such a large area to tend and aiming for all year-round colour they selected trees and shrubs with colourful stems and foliage.

Salix Flamingo has redstems in the winter and pink and white foliage in the summer. Liquid Amber is a shrub that has acer like leaves and maintains russet red foliage throughout the year. Spring blooming Rhododendrons and Azaleas added rich colour. Laburnum with its yellow flowers in early summer was a favourite until it became unsafe and was felled.

The owners have a small vase created from a branch by a wood turning friend as a memento. Pauline didn’t go for annuals but enjoyed lower growing perennials like Rosanne Geranium to give colour and ground cover through the summer. She also enjoyed poking in false plants around the garden to provide colour and talking points. The garden attracted a variety of birds including kingfishers.

In 2007 they featured in a BBC gardening programme with Carol Klein about how to get into the National Garden Scheme Yellow Book. They found it hard to go along with the way the programme makers created a narrative rather than following the real-life scenario.

In 2020, although it was hard to let go, they moved on to a bungalow ‘Little Latch’ where they are nearer their grandchildren. They have started from scratch to create similarly colourful garden from the blank canvas of the space around the bungalow. They had plenty of practice along the way creating utilitarian small gardens for friends and family.

Next talk ‘Organic Gardening – working with nature’ – Oliver Jones. This includes the ‘Potted Plant’ competition for members plants that have lived with them for at least 6 months. Wednesday, 12th July 2023 - 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start at Kilmersdon Village Hall. Refreshments and raffle on arrival.

Trisha Jordan