I'm off on a dry stone walling course in a bit, hosted up on the Mendips. Dry stones walls are an important part of the landscape design at Hookgate Cottage
, and I want to build them myself, using stone recycled from the gable end of the old cottage. We'll be using them to retain our meadow area as well as to create a modernistic undulating raised bed in the formal garden. Designer Phil Brown
is a keen dry stone waller himself, and he's quick to point out their practical, aesthetic and ecological virtues. They're not just shelter for fauna large and small, but also great basking areas for cold blooded animals like butterflies and reptiles.
I've walked past this ancient section of stone wall many times over the years, on Pentire Point on Cornwall, and if I can create anything like this I will be ecstatic.
It has a very Cornish feel, of course, whereas ours will definitely look local to our bit of Somerset, but it's southwest facing, as one side of the structure of our wavy bed will be, and I hope we can establish some of the same flora. The Birdsfoot Trefoil and Wild Thyme were particularly striking in this section, which explains why it was heaving with bumblebees and butterflies.