Online Open Gardens Series - Bolts Quarry Farm

Online Open Gardens Series - Bolts Quarry Farm

Bolts Quarry Farm 2020 Mowhay Rock Garden Isabella Hawkes

Due to the coronavirus lockdown, the Open Garden events for 2020 have been cancelled. In this online Open Gardens series, we will be speaking with the owners of the gardens we would have opened for our fundraiser so you can 'visit' digitally!
Red tailed bumblebee flies to flower Bolts Quarry Farm 2020 Isabella Hawkes

Red tailed bumblebee flies to flower Bolts Quarry Farm 2020 Isabella Hawkes

Transformed from the site of a disused Quarry into a bright and thriving wildlife garden, Bolts Quarry Farm was due to open for Cornwall Wildlife Trust on Sunday 9th August. This Open Garden would raise money for Cornwall Wildlife Trust as part of our annual Open Gardens series but due to coronavirus, has been unable to do so. This week, owners Jackie and George discuss their garden and how it came to be what it is today.

How long have you lived at Bolts Quarry Farm?

We have lived at Bolts Quarry Farm for 23 years and moved here because the location of this small holding was just what we were looking for. Close to a village with amenities, wonderful riding being 5 mins ride to Bodmin Moor and a few more acres for our horses and cattle. Our land is in the sloping lee of a valley so we are quite protected from extremes of Bodmin Moor weather.  


What have you done to the garden since living there?

There was very little garden at that time and the gardens as they are today have evolved over time although not a priority as the house and meadows all needed attention. We have made use of areas which lent themselves to converting to a new  life –e.g  the disused quarry is now a wildlife friendly, landscaped garden bordered by a 2 acre woodland with the old granite quarry spoilheap between the two areas.

The old mowhay is now a colourful, ornamental garden on different levels with an array of flowering shrubs and plants. We have acidic soil so spring shrubs do well eg camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons.

We aim for lots of colour and do not worry too much about colour combinations. We also have several grasses and hydrangeas which all seem to do well here. At the moment the crocosmias, alliums, potentillas, Japanese anemones, cosmos and day lilies and even are flowering well amongst various other plants.   

We are in the process of creating a wildlife meadow and in addition, making use of a quite rough, granite strewn area which we are planting to tall grasses and young trees. The soil is poor so it is a process of finding what will survive and only time will give us the answer to this question!

We have developed our pond garden and boggy area; the pond is fed by two natural springs with an overflow which runs down through the wildlife meadow creating more planting opportunities for flag iris etc.

bee on flower bolts quarry farm

Regarding wildlife, we have a few deer who appear now and then and help themselves to whatever takes their fancy. Very annoying. We see a few rabbits, little mice, grass snakes, lizards and have a pair of buzzards. Lots of butterflies and insects too. There are many species of wild birds around the gardens and meadows and this year we actually had a visit from a cuckoo for the first time in several years.

We have many favourite plants according to season, although I am partial to a hydrangea and have many different types here.

We have found that the lockdown period has been strangely very enjoyable and the gardens have certainly been a solace. We have spent more time this year sitting in the gardens in those six weeks of glorious sunshine just enjoying the birdsong and the buzzing of the bees amongst the flowers.

Crocosmia & budleia

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