Everything in nature exists in a cycle: the desolation of winter is followed by the new life of spring; the abundance of the autumn harvest follows the blooming summer. Seeds are sown and cared for, they grow, are harvested and produce their own seeds so that the process can start again with the next generation in the following spring. It is this simple, natural order that inspires Beth Tarling’s own traditional gardening style.
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When you step into the rustic cottage garden, you immediately notice the abundance of life that fills the small property: the neatly arranged raised beds are bursting with color and variety, from climbing sugar peas to bright dahlias to juicy kale leaves and the pink stalks of rhubarb . It’s a mix of order and apparent chaos, much like nature itself, but one in which everything thrives.
See: How to grow dahlias – a step-by-step guide on how to grow dahlias from tubers
A neat path leads through the beds, which leads visitors past the explosion of flowers and leaves to the powerhouse of the garden, Beth’s lovingly “flower shed”. Her 18th century cottage in Gunwalloe has been passed down from generation to generation from her husband Dan’s family, and the shed has been in the garden overlooking the Cornish coast in Great Britain for as long as anyone can remember.
In 2018, it only took Beth and Dan three weeks to remodel the building, to reconfigure its floor plan to convert an unused space into a functional kitchen, to convert the cabinets bought on Ebay from an old farmhouse to also include fruit and vegetables of harvest than onions for planting next year.
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“Cottage gardening is about seeing everything as a precious resource,” says Beth. “You are constantly saving for the next year: growing your own food, harvesting your own seeds and onions – that’s how people have worked in the garden for hundreds of years, simply because they survived.
Something as simple as an onion was a valuable item, whether as food or an onion, as it had the potential to help you through the harsh winter. Nothing was lost then; I think we can learn a lot from it today. ”
When you stand at the entrance of the shed, under the protection of the hanging trees that protect it from the coastal winds and the sun shining through the stained glass windows, it is as if you have been transported into a secret world.
The stained glass windows were rescued from a robbery by Beth’s mother and spent most of their life as garden decorations before becoming the crown jewels of the room. Dan created a wooden frame from a dismantled shed to support the glazing and then installed it on the front of Beth’s shed to create a moody facade.
The dreamy building is flanked on the left by terracotta pots that are patiently waiting for spring, and on the right by an inconspicuous large black box. “It’s one of my favorite things in the garden. The wormer is really a bit obsessed, ”says Beth.
“We have a normal compost heap for grass clippings and the like, and then the worming is where we put all of our kitchen waste and waste paper. The soil that the worms leave behind is great for potting seedlings because it is very fine and rich in nutrients. I think everyone should have one. ‘
While a flower shed is a practical place for many, for Beth it is also a place that stimulates the imagination, full of endless possibilities and potential. “It may sound strange, but I see the shed as an extension of my home, not something outside,” she says. “I wanted it to be a place where I enjoy spending time.”
A symphony of flowers hangs from the ceiling, filling the air with their fragrant notes. Deep red and mustard yellow grasses paired with heady lavender and helichrysum hang alongside the architectural stalks of poppy pods interspersed with freshly harvested celery blossoms, drying out so their seeds can be replanted next year.
On the two rows of shelves, neatly organized pots teem with life, from newly emerging seedlings to freshly picked flowers waiting to adorn the bedrooms in Beth’s vacation homes next to her home.
See: How to grow lavender – with expert cultivation tips
“I have a routine,” says Beth, “where I try to sow something new every week. So there is always something to plant and always something to pick – whether it is a bouquet of flowers or just a sprig of rosemary to season the potatoes: something is always growing in the garden. ”
See: How to grow potatoes – a step-by-step guide
Most years Beth opens her garden as part of the National garden program. By prior arrangement, visitors can come and explore their lush garden, flower shed, and lawn, and raise money for a variety of charities.