Gardening: a Mediterranean touch

PUBLISHED: 01:38 26 July 2012 | UPDATED: 21:39 20 February 2013

Gardening: a Mediterranean touch

Gardening: a Mediterranean touch

Colin and Dee Morley have taken inspiration from abroad for their garden at Heatherbank near Pulborough. Words and pictures by Leigh Clapp

Transforming a plain town garden has been a labour of love for Colin and Dee Morley, creating a rather unexpected oasis that has influences of both the Mediterranean and the tropics. The garden was bare when we moved here in 2000, not even a fence, so it was pretty much a blank canvas. The soil is what I call good old-fashioned brown soil, which most things grow in although we are in a frost pocket. Most of our inspiration has come from foreign holidays. Wherever I go I am on the look out for flowers producing seeds or cuttings from the roadside etc. The size of the plant or tree does not matter, I have managed to grow a tamarind seed, they grow into enormous trees in their natural habitat, explains Dee.

The couple has divided the long garden that measures 200ft x 40ft into several sections. It is easier to manage and means you can have different planting schemes, she adds. Out from the house is a lawn edged in flowerbeds, splashed with richly-toned dahlias and tactile tree ferns. The eye is then drawn to a timber platform shaded by a large catalpa, a favourite spot for alfresco dining. Journeying down the garden there is another seating area in a bamboo gazebo adorned with tropical-looking plants, many in recycled quirky containers. The mood changes then to the Mediterranean with pots sunning themselves on a whitewashed wall and further on you discover a swimming pool edged in more containers of an eclectic mix of hibiscus, passion flowers and begonias in a clash of colours.

Colins sense of humour permeates the garden with eccentric touches such as a deck chair perched on top of the sheds roof facing out to watch the gliders and hot air balloons landing in the distance, or potted succulents emerging from bamboo poles. He spends many Sunday mornings at car boot sales on the lookout for unusual things to put in a corner here and there, it all comes down to imagination. I do all the growing and planting, Colin does the lawn and building and thinking up unusual ideas, explains Dee. Further inspiration comes from other gardens as well. We are always looking at what other people have done and usually adapt ideas to fit our own garden. We found an unusual and money-saving idea was to use old wine bottles as uprights for the decorative rails, she adds.

Since 2010 the couple has opened their garden through the National Gardens Scheme. The best thing about opening is talking to people about gardening and listening to their comments and questions. The comment we hear most is inspirational, says Dee.

Opening times
Heatherbank, Pulborough, RH20 1AS
Sat 11, Sun 12 August (1.30-5)
Adm 3.50, chd free,

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