A Break from Routine

Breakwater Cottage

Left the garden in good hands for a week and driven down to one of our favourite spots in North Cornwall, Summerleaze Beach in Bude. We come down here mainly to give the dogs a holiday on the beach, they love it!

View from the Cottage


The place we rent is called Breakwater Cottage and is literally a stones throw from a beautiful, clean, dog friendly beach, the estuary of the tiny River Neet and the sea lock of the Bude Canal. A fascinating place with a lot of history, well restored and carefully managed. Lots of interesting walks on the coastal path above the breakwater and around the headland to Crooklets Beach. We look out onto the canal, the river and the sea and the sand dunes, which lead to an open air sea pool cleaned and refilled by every high tide.

Whilst I’m here I thought I would jot down a few notes about the garden because it is always interesting to reflect on other peoples gardens, particularly when it’s right next to the beach and exposed to salt laden winds.

Mind your own Business


The owner of the cottage lives in London but he obviously employs a keen gardener to look after things for him while he’s away. It is a challenging garden to tend being on a steep slope but the terracing and rock features help to hold the sandy soil back and plants have been chosen carefully to provide stability and coverage. Not for the faint hearted, the potentially invasive Soleirolia soleirolii, commonly called Mind your own Business, has been introduced and looks perfect clinging to the rocks and sheer faces of the granite walls. Fuchsias, hydrangeas and hardy geraniums love the improved but well drained soil and a Tamarisk tree is constantly swaying gently over the driveway. On the upper levels, hebes and hardy fuchsias form a tall hedge and phormiums, cordylines and santolinas bask in the sun. Outside in the road, glossy black tubs are filled with yellow anthemis and red begonias creating an attractive welcome to the cottage.

The other key feature of all the gardens and stone walls in the area is Red Valerian, Centranthus ruber, which grows out of every nook and cranny.

Common Fleabane, Erigeron karvinskianus, has obviously developed from one plant into many and now billows over the steps. 

One of the clever things about the garden is the way the different levels provide differing views and the higher you go, the more you see. At the very top, perched alongside a tall Cordyline you can look over the cottage roof, over the estuary and out to sea.The air in Cornwall somehow seems to be cleaner, and the light is brighter and sharper. I’ve heard that’s why a lot of artists and photographers have moved here and I’m not surprised. The dogs love it too!