The whole question of whether making a garden is actually a good idea in a given circumstance is one we find ourselves repeatedly debating. Trematon Castle may be the ultimate expression of my and Julian’s compulsion to take on bedraggled houses and gardens, usually in the wrong place, but crammed with the right things; with charm, mystery, possibilities, dissipated grandeur, lost domains. The trouble with Trematon, is that it is such a magical world in itself, it was not obvious how it could be improved by gardening. We have lost jobs by making such arguments, by saying that what is needed is not more garden but less, less mowing, less planting, less art, less artifice. There is nothing more pleasing than an orchard, grass and trees; perhaps add to that lilac, philadelphus, some species roses, some ‘non-planting’ and near the house some pinks and some scented cottage garden plants. Partly this is sheer practicality; it is easy to plant masses of plants, it is the nurturing that takes the energy and devotion, and like museums and galleries what is difficult is keeping up the happenings long term. But is also to do with conspicuous consumption, the unnecessities of life, harking back to something simpler and trying to make the world a more pleasing place, productive and beneficial but not excessively showy. Gardening has become a commodity like everything else, and sometimes it is pretty sickening. Having said which, it cannot be denied that when a lovely opportunity offers itself, it is always fatal for Julian and me.