Each of the fourteen posts of the pergola, that runs for thirty metres (100 feet) along the edge of the lawn, supports a wisteria sinesis, an autumn flowering tangutica clematis, plus a different variety of honeysuckle and clematis. They in turn form a climbing frame for the annual sweet peas.
Bulbs cluster round the base of each upright and appear in spring through the gravel, as do the seedlings of the perennials in the raised bed behind the stone wall, which was built of reclaimed stone from the ruined Cistercian abbey across the fields.
Half way along this phase 1 of the pergola you come across “the steps to nowhere”, which do actually lead up onto the track that leads to the cottage. Tony christened them this because he felt they were unnecessary and performed no useful purpose. They have, however, proved most useful for displaying pots of bulbs when they are in flower.
In this photo you see the last post of pergola phase 1, with its Star of Lincoln clematis, and part of the crop of thornless blackberries that are tied to the nine posts of pergola phase 3. In season, they are served alongside the breakfast cereals and in Tony’s home made jams and jellies, ready to spread on your toast.
Underneath phase 2 of the pergola is a water feature that can be enjoyed from the decking outside the kitchen and from the balcony. Water pours from an old pump type tap and splashes into a stone trough on its way to a small pond containing fish, before it overflows down a pebble streambed to disappear below a grindstone. The water then re-emerges, bubbling constantly, from the centre of the grindstone. A variety of primulas flower among the stones.
The pergola posts by the path are clad with golden hop and clematis tangutica, with a variety of other clematis weaving their way through the fence panel that forms a wind break.
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