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Kel Portman and I started off with Ann and Bryan Corbin’s beautiful garden at Greenbank, by the Triangle near Edge House, on a warm, sunny late afternoon. The garden looks eastwards with stunning views down the valley to Painswick Church. It’s protected on the Triangle side by a high Cotswold stone wall, topped by a thick hedge and set off at the Painswick end by two large, mature trees, one a lime in Joan Griffiths’s garden down the slope below and the other a copper beach at Edge House. The Corbins have been developing their garden for several years now and always seem to be working on some major new addition. Ann is very fond of roses, peonies and alliums, which were looking gorgeous. Kel and I also admired some stunning bee orchids, so-called because the flower looks like a large bee, and a magnificent, pink climbing rose by David Austin called ‘Janet’, selected because that’s Ann’s mother’s name. Kel spent some time photographing a glowing orange geum, ‘Totally Tangerine’, with Ann holding a black screen behind. There were also some fine foxgloves and irises.
The Corbins have recently started a small wild garden on the Triangle side of the house. At the foot of the garden, approached across an immaculate lawn, is a small, but beautifully crafted, ornamental pond inside a stone paved surround replete with various water plants, including some tall, wavy cotton grass. At the other end, the Corbins also have an impressive, netted vegetable garden, with asparagus, runner beans, peas, rhubarb, kohlrabi, fennel, broad beans and kale. The overall appearance of the garden is, I think, close to perfection: compact, colourful, restful and inviting.
I cannot finish, however, without commenting on the Corbins’ fine collection of garden ornaments and furniture, some of which Bryan has made himself, as he is also a talented wood carver (see: http://greenbankcarving.co.uk and page A8 at the back of this edition). A particularly notable feature is a long wooden bench, supported by two large wooden hands, which he had designed and carved. In addition, there is an elegant, cast iron, semi-sphere garden ornament, pierced to look like rusted vine leaves and a large glass sphere, surrounded by a heart-shaped ivy wreath, left over from daughter Frances’s wedding. However, pride of place goes to a new oak gazebo – Bryan’s pride and joy – which he had recently constructed and roofed himself, also to his own design.
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