Along the winding road
PUBLISHED: 16:00 18 September 2013 | UPDATED: 16:07 18 September 2013
Take the winding road leading from Camborne, head south towards Helston, before reaching Praze-an-Beeble the eagle-eyed will spot a pretty Morris Minor marking the entrance to Trevoole farm: home to Beth and Travis Stevens who bought what was a ramshackle smallholding and a three-acre field 11 years ago, although at the time they weren't entirely sure what they'd acquired as the brambles were head-height and virtually impenetrable.
‘The first five years were spent clearing the area,’ explains Beth. ‘We had a small garden before moving here but have really got into gardening now because we have the space; it felt like a real opportunity and we wanted to do something with it.’
What stands in its place now are deliciously relaxed cottage garden-style borders, edged with granite and stuffed with herbaceous plants. Geraniums left to their own devices, lupins and hollyhocks are happily at home on the gable end of the now converted milking parlour, roses spilling through borders and over fences flowing in a floral wave through the long Rose Walk that leads to the potager and herb garden. Sweet William holding their proud scented heads high, other annuals and biennials make an appearance too, cosmos, calendula, digitalis and viola self-seeded throughout creating a delightfully uncontrived effect.
‘I wanted it to feel as though you were visiting an old aunt, that feeling of being just organised enough but being on the verge of despair,’ jokes Beth alluding to the relaxed, informal feel of the garden.
The secluded Shepherd’s Hut is an enviable hide-away with its own tumbling cottage garden, gravel paths wind their way through tumbling borders of lavender, frothing geraniums and towering digitalis that beautifully obscure the hut making it perfectly private and easy to miss when eagerly entering the garden.
The café is beautiful with flawless vintage styling. Fixtures, fittings, fabrics and music work together to complete the look, visitors are welcome to sit outside under the canopy of the orchard amid the short mown paths marvelling at how the dappled sunlight hits the long meadow-grass beneath the old apple trees.
‘The potager has been Travis’ responsibility this year,’ says Beth. ‘That’s why it’s looking so lovely and tidy at the moment. He’s much more methodical than me.’ A patchwork of square beds planted with vegetables, salad and edible flowers complete with a reclaimed, low-level green-house-come-cloche as the centre-piece provides food for the home, café and wildlife at Trevoole Farm.
The herb garden is a small enclosed area, a curved path of sleepers leads to the gate and within olive trees form the focal point of the beds under planted with herbs en masse, allowed to fill the space with their aromatic foliage and flowers: these generous borders are a perfect showcase for the ornamental quality of these edible plants.
‘We tend to grow a lot of what grows here, if that makes sense. With so much space to fill we have to just go with what thrives. I do like cottage garden perennials and I read a lot of books. I’m a big fan of Christopher Lloyd, I love Great Dixter.’
There are certainly hints of Beth’s favourite garden in the bright, mixed colours and clashing foliage textures found in the Bog Garden where even the resident pigs have a beautiful view through their gate. This part of the garden is pure colourful theatre and the walk down a narrow path between the on-site vintage shop and a dry-stone wall only increases the anticipation. Stand back to drink in this unexpected treat - candelabra primulas in yellow and pink and the majestic arum lilies growing against a backdrop of gunnera. A couple of strategically placed ornate iron bedsteads complete the scene, transforming what could be a dark, damp corner into a must-see part of the garden.
With plenty to keep Beth and Travis busy at Trevoole Farm, they have enlisted the help of Hayley, who gardens on a Monday.
‘Hayley’s dedication really keeps me concentrating on the task in hand, I need that discipline. I tend to bumble around the garden without direction otherwise,’ admits Beth. I’m not sure I believe her though; there is certainly very little evidence of anything other than hard work and dedication, the attention to detail at every turn shows the commitment to this beautiful spot.
From the lovely old car signposting the garden from the road to the sheep lazily grazing in the paddock keeping a curious eye on the comings and goings, to the tumbling borders and hints of yester year, it feels as though you have stepped back in time into a glorious vintage haven where everything has a dream-like quality and they serve delicious cake. n
Trevoole Farm is open from 10am-4pm every Thursday until Christmas for the National Garden Scheme.
Beth and Travis Stevens
Trevoole Farm, Praze-and-Beeble, Helston TR14 0RN
01209 831 243 / www.trevoolefarm.co.uk