Mother’s Day came early to this household, on Saturday instead of Sunday. We went to Docton Mill Garden in north Devon, which is quite famous for its daffodils, had a good look round the garden and then had an absolutely gorgeous lunch there too!
The ancient mill house is tucked away in the bottom of a valley near to the village of Hartland. Because of its closeness to the sea, the garden hardly ever experiences frost and escapes the worst of the south westerly gales because it is sheltered by the surrounding tree covered hills.
The mill and it’s ajoining leat, weir and terrace have been traced back to Saxon times, before the Norman conquest of 1066. It is thought that a more likely date for the mill is AD 901, built after the death of King Alfred, when the area became more settled and prosperous, there would then be plenty of farmers bringing their grain to be milled.
The garden was started in 1930 but fell into disrepair in the 1970′s. In the 1980′s the mill was renovated and the gardens redesigned and extended to the present 9 acres. Lots more work was done in the 1990′s by the previous owners and the present owners are designing new areas to make it more of a year round garden rather than just a spring garden.
This was the sight that greeted us at the entrance, daffodils as far as the eye could see.
They looked lovely under the trees, on the shady slope where apparently badgers live.
As we were nearing the mill, we were met by 2 lions guarding the entrance, but just look at his coat!
Such a fantastic mossy coat, it really looked as if you could stroke it but wasn’t willing to try it, thought I might fall into the mill pond!
The garden walk starts outside the Mill house and goes straight up the hill for the woodland walk. Looked at it and wondered if I would make it to the top, but stopping to photograph Camellias on the way made it easier!!
Yes, I did make it to the top, was amazed at how the old muscles coped with all the steps. Everywhere up there was covered with bluebell leaves, it will look wonderful in about another month, beautiful blue everywhere.
All the time we were in the garden, there was non-stop noise from the rookery in the tops of the trees. The noise was deafening, I couldn’t help but think of my last post complaining about 1 pheasant waking me up in the morning. There must have been between 20 and 30 rooks flying about calling to each other, I promise I won’t complain about my pheasant again!
On the way down from the woodland walk we found loads of hellebores
Lovely plum coloured double ones looking absolutely gorgeous.
We then walked over to the sunnier side of the garden by the River Speke where we found loads of these primulas.
A few Daffs and tulips beside the stream.
More daffs by the stream.
A very well pruned Chaenomeles, it was a round ball!
We crossed the River Speke a few times on very small bridges, the water was running very fast due to lots of rain overnight.
At last, masses of Narcissus that we had come to see.
Everywhere we looked there were loads more to enjoy under the trees.
The trees here are all covered in lichen because of the very clean atmosphere, this makes them look really old somehow but they are only 20 or so yrs old.
The mill leat which feeds the mill pond and is controlled by sluice gates.
I’ve put this in to remind me to move my Drumstick primulas to a more boggy position, theirs are twice the size of mine and are in a much wetter soil.
A last look at the narcissus before we go inside the mill house for our fantastic lunch. Can’t believe I didn’t take a photo of my Mother’s Day lunch before I ate it – it looked absolutely wonderful – you will just have to take my word for it. I had a seafood platter, all the seafood caught locally just a mile away, prawns, mackerel, crab and smoked salmon with a beautiful side salad of chopped beetroot, celery, grapes, carrots and mixed leaves, it was a vision of pink, green and white, all topped off with a huge langoustine! Came home very happy and even having to drive back through some hail and sleet couldn’t spoil the day!!