Taken from the top floor of the potting shed, the four grimy round windows in the eaves give a view over the garden and out to sea. This one showing the glasshouses and the view down to Bembridge Harbour. In the cold of minus 2* this morning, oyster catchers and red shanks fed on the mud flats with year round residents: little egrets, mallards and others, the odd goose and swan. But I am no ornithologist, so I will take advice before writing any more on this. It is a place of tranquillity in the winter whilst in the summer St Helens fills with tents and the many caravan parks heave with families with their crab lines enjoying the sense of detachment from reality that the island brings. Anyway, the English Seaside. Hard to beat from my point of view.
The view from the window to the sea is a small snapshot of the gardens of the Castle and Olivers. The job now, beginning on Monday in earnest, is to bring the gardens together again for the first time since the 1950’s. Leylandii hedges which have grown to epic proportions will go first, giving light to a beautiful Sweet Chesnut and a Wellingtonia, planted I would think when the house was built in 1840. At the same time, more of the ill considered planting at Olivers will go: sickly cherries planted too close together, Robinina pseudocacia suffering from disease, poplars that are sending saplings all over the grass, Cordylines and two Eucalyptus trees planted close to the water’s edge beside a group of mature oaks: the latter especially dreadful.
Going back to these windows in the potting shed, tucked under the eaves on the top floor, they give a filtered greeny light to the space that was obviously once a grain store, judging by the trap in the floor. The greeny light is thanks to the wisteria which covers the windows, and even enters the room in places. Despite the atmosphere the plant brings it must be pruned this year before it continues its quiet, creeping destruction, its vast roots and branches clamping the building in such a grip that the roof tiles have popped upwards.