On a rare sunny afternoon in late July Moleside members enjoyed exclusive access to the spectatcular garden at Heathside created by Margaret Arnott and Terry Bartholomew. The idea of a special visit for their club first came to our hosts three years ago as we all took gentle steps out of Covid isolation. This year, with restrictions on group sizes long forgotten, some 50 fellow Moleside members and our partners were delighted to accept their generous invitation to get together again here.
Margaret’s plans for the garden date from the late 1980s. Terry joined her here 10 years later and their partnership that has transformed a once modest, sloping lawn behind their home was on site to work towards the results we admire today.
Asked about the planning that has gone into the project Margaret explains that rather than thinking about a space and then selecting the perfect plant for it, she first chooses a plant and then thinks about where to put it.
Her advice – allow a very general idea to evolve a bit at a time and don’t persevere with plants that don’t like where you first decide to put them. Find them somewhere else and see how that feels – to both the plant and the gardener.
Terry admits he never throws landscaping materials away. If first ideas don’t work out he uses the same bricks, stone or metal as a basis for their next one.
He and Margaret agree that they’ve probably now found where most of the materials they’ve invested in over the years finally feel at home.
Margaret says perennials are the easiest and most reliable of plants to deliver beautiful results year after year – and her generosity in letting others of us have cuttings means that there is always another Probus garden in the area that will have a replacement for her if one of her original plants suffers for any reason.
There is another key to their success. The two of them understand the need to invest in time.
They talk of ‘unquantifiable numbers of hours’ devoted to the garden they love.
The results do them proud.
They have asked that this report on the 2023 Moleside afternoon at Heathside includes their thanks to all the club members who have, over the 23 years they have opened to visitors, helped them and their garden raise more than £50,000 in support of the National Gardens Scheme and its charities.
As for those of us who were with them on this sunny Saturday afternoon in July, we enjoyed wonderful hospitality in a very special place – along with the encouragement that comes from a hint or two of how those surroundings have been created.
Thank you Terry and Margaret
For reports on other recent Moleside Visits click the TAGS button below.