Every inch settled into its rocky English landscape, this Cotswold cottage and brook-side garden seem to be delight- ful summer subjects, even if they do defy translation to our surround. In Southern California, any such rivulet would, of course, be contained inside a deep drainage channel to protect against that occasional flood; an earthquake would quickly topple the carefully stacked stones that make up the house and the tipsy garden walls. Even the plants in the garden won't grow in Southern California, but our hot summer days were made for dreaming, so here's a bit of English-countryside romance.
The cottage, which dates from the 1600s, was an ale house on the road from Wales to Bristol. Drovers stopped here for a pint, and cattle grazed lazily on the grassy downs. When Greta Wright bought the cottage for an eventual retirement home, it was dilapidated; the property was strewn with rock and tumbled outbuildings. Seven truckloads of debris were carted off and topsoil was brought in, sack by sack, on weekend after weekend, until the site was ready for gardening at the time of her retirement, five years ago.
The delightful paths that angle through the garden were made from some of the stones that stayed, some salvaged from the fallen buildings. Here and there, for no apparent reason, the stones run out and gravel takes over. Perhaps the paths are intended to be finished some day, though we hope not.