• The Bohemian Charms of Charleston

    26th August 2013Places to VisitStephanie Donaldson

    hedge trimmed in organic shapes pink flowers grow from torso statue of person carved from red bricks white stone statue amongst verdant green mans head on a pedestal in charleston garden woman carved from stone amongst grasses at charleston view across garden over hollyhocks back to house statue of man from shoulders updwards medusa like sculpture of woman in wall at charleston flowers reach high in this garden border at charleston dual colour dahlias at charleston gardens On a perfect summer’s day, a colleague and I spent a morning with Mark Divall, the charming and modest head gardener at Charleston. What a treat. While she interviewed him, I was left to wander around on my own in this wonderfully atmospheric place (it was a day when it’s closed to visitors). I half expected to hear a burst of laughter echoing down the years, or catch a glimpse of a willowy figure disappearing amongst the towering hollyhocks. All a bit fanciful I know, but there is a real sense of it being much as it was in their day – it was all a bit crumbling and shabby then – and it is now. If you like houses and gardens to be pristine, this isn’t a place that will appeal to you, but for everyone else it’s an opportunity to visit a place where convention was never followed and art was all. And should anyone be fairly local and have horticultural experience, Mark would love to have some more volunteers to help him in the garden.