(formerly known as The Potting Shed/My Lady's Retreat)
30 years ago we wanted a Victorian style working potting shed and greenhouse. We wanted it to be pleasing to the eye with a touch of humour yet practical. With Albans design drawn up on the back of an envelope looked good to Angela and she added a few ideas for the interior which Alban approved.
Work started with building the back wall in local stone which Alban had collected during his work when he was running a small building firm. The other walls are feather boarding. All the work was done in Alban's and Angela's spare time in the evenings, weekends and holidays. The roof has second hand Pan tiles and the crowning glory a quirky crooked chimney, inspired from Alban's apprenticeship days working with Master builders from the Ashridge Estate in Hertfordshire.
Local Oak from the Mendips from which Alban made the doors and dormer windows. He also acquired some old beams of Yellow Pine which he cut up to make a paneled boarded ceiling and walls. A Granary type stairs made from a pitch pine beam leads up to My Lady's Retreat a little sleeping area just in case the gardener need a rest or an afternoon nap.
Second hand clay tiles bought from an auction, a bargain bulk buy, was our floor. The interior wall, after plastering, Angela emulsioned with a scumble glaze to give it a Victorian look. 1920s electric wall lights came from a reclamation yard, as did the best buy, two broken bits of early Victorian cast iron ranges which Alban managed to cobble together to make one good working range, really cosy when burning all the off cuts from the workshop.
A tiny porcelain sink from a school science lab was set in the pitch pine draining board and worktop so that Angela could do all her potting, pricking out and planting. All the rain water from the roof runs into a well that Alban dug 40 years ago can now be used to water the garden. A dresser and cupboards came from Angelas Mum & Dad just right for all the china that Angela needs for Cream Teas for holiday guests and all who come when we have the Garden open for charity.
The final thing that Angela wanted was a little round window upstairs in the mezzanine. It is now installed bring light in and a lovely view of the Mendip Hills.
The green house is attached to the Potting Shed and made from local Cedar. Up on the ridge of the greenhouse Alban has cut out a black cat watching two Swallows. All the finals on the gable ends are cut outs of different trees; Pine, Oak,Fir and Yew.