Recently during our little getaway to Devon on one of our trips out sightseeing and taking in the glorious scenery that is North Devon we happened upon these beautiful flowerbeds in the front approaches of the small museum in the village of Porlock.

Porlock is of course best known for the part it played in the story of the Lynmouth Lifeboat which (courtesy of Wikipedia) goes as follows:

At 7:52pm on 12 January 1899, a 1,900 ton three-masted ship Forrest Hall, carrying thirteen crew and five apprentices, was in trouble off Porlock Weir on the North Somerset coast to a severe gale which had been blowing all day. She had been under tow, but the tow rope had broken. She was dragging her anchor and had lost her steering gear. The ship’s destruction was probable. The alarm was raised for the Louisa, the Lynmouth lifeboat, to be launched to assist. However, due to the terrible weather, the launch was impossible. Jack Crocombe, the coxswain of Louisa proposed to take the boat by road to Porlock’s sheltered harbour — 13 miles (21 km) around the coast — and launch it from there.

The boat plus its carriage weighed about 10 tons, and transporting it would not be easy. 20 horses and 100 men started by hauling the boat up the 1 in 4 Countisbury Hill out of Lynmouth. Six of the men were sent ahead with picks and shovels to widen the road. The highest point is 1,423 feet (434 m) above sea level. After crossing the 15 miles (24 km) of wild Exmoor paths, the dangerous Porlock Hill had to be descended with horses and men pulling ropes to stall the descent; during this they had to demolish part of a garden wall and fell a large tree to make a way. The lifeboat reached Porlock Weir at 6:30 A.M. and was launched. Although cold, wet, hungry and exhausted, the crew rowed for over an hour in heavy seas to reach the stricken Forest Hall and rescue the thirteen men and five apprentices with no casualties; but four of the horses used died of exhaustion. The Forrest Hall was later towed into Barry, Wales.

…anyway back to the story of the flowerbeds!

Inspired by what we had seen, we decided to try to enhance our back garden and give it the “Cottage Garden” look, so with a little planning (back of a cereal box at the kitchen table) the project began…

We decided that the flowerbeds would be best built with bricks and the first step was to lay out a basic design of what we were looking to acheive, and this gave us a starting point, after which it was time to begin the digging of the foundations, nothing major, just about 6 inches of concrete to form a bed for the bricks.

The progression was then fairly quick over the next few days…

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

I have to be fair though all the running around certainly did wear me out a bit, I think it took a particular toll on my legs…

Well after all the hard work, we ran out of bricks to finish the path and I am still trying to hunt down a supplier that will provide me with a bulk bag of purple slate chippings, but we thought we would at least do some plant hunting, and this involved a few visits to various garden centres, but I think that now that we have begun the planting of the flower beds, that all in all the project has been a really worthwhile one…

Don’t worry, I will keep you all updated and I will post some more piccies when we have completed the garden!!!

Day 8 – initial planting complete