9 October 2017
A fond farewell
I'm sitting on my favourite blog-writing bench at the top end of the kitchen garden looking back down the main path to the cottage garden. It's a good spot because it's tucked up out of the way but it still gives a great view of the garden and the wider landscape. The concept of a protected, private growing space is almost as old as gardening itself and perhaps explains, at least in part, my choice.
This week my feelings are rather conflicted, autumn is a time of change in the garden and this week it is for me personally as well. This is my last week gardening at Allt y bela. It's very hard for me to sum up my experiences here over the last three years; as with any gardening job there have, of course, been some disappointments and a fair share of hard graft but my overriding feeling is one of privilege and gratitude. I've learned so much and gained in confidence over my time here. I have been incredibly fortunate throughout my career in horticulture to work in some extremely beautiful places with some incredibly talented people.
Allt y bela is less of a garden and more of a family and I have come to rely on the good people here a great deal. I will miss those I have worked with even more than the beautiful garden. I'm not going to list everyone who has supported me here because it would be rather tedious for you to read, suffice to say they know who they are and they will always have my deepest gratitude.
I would also like to thank you, for reading and supporting this diary; it's been a real pleasure to write and to have time to reflect on this ever-changing and wonderfully evolving space.
My next adventure is going to be down in west Dorset in the beautiful secluded Combe where Mapperton House resides. It's another incredibly special garden with a strong sense of place within the rolling hills of rural dorset.
How do I sum up my time working with Arne at Allt y bela? I'm not sure I'm entirely equal to it; the garden reflects the man, it is energetic, thoughtful and inspiring with a strong grounding in landscape and history. I think the garden at Allt y bela is one of the great modern gardens, it has beauty, elements of modernity, traditional craftsmanship and a very strong relationship to the house and landscape. I feel in many ways that Arne is leading a modern day arts and crafts revival in the garden, and it's been thrilling to have been a part of it.
Click here for a selection of Steve's favourite shots, taken by Britt Wiloughby Dyer, from the Garden Diary over the years.
Words: Steve Lannin, former Head Gardener, Allt y bela
Photos: Britt Willoughby Dyer