Away in a Manger, one quid for a garden design gem

manger in Garden DesignAlongside the top terrace, beneath the newly planted White Wisteria, we’ve formed a railing from three sections of an old manger which cost us just one (UK) pound in a local farm auction – and we love it.

If you are over this way on a Wednesday and have never experienced the buzz of a local auction, let us know and we’ll introduce you.

Trying to find instant maturity to blend-in around here, often delays the finish of features but we can afford the luxury of delay on our own project house. Most internal and external features at the HoBB ‘grow’ as we find the next piece they need regardless of the ‘wait’.

This method of incremental architecture allows us to enjoy the art of construction in many ways. Visiting friends contribute their thoughts and actions to HoBB features in the same way that Cairns in Scotland are often built, one rock at a time, and by returning to a feature with freshened eyes it remains alive.

Some see the many features at the HoBB as ‘unfinished’, but they are ‘in progress’ and grow as steadily as our young trees. Gardeners, and farmers, are forever seeing the changes they cultivate and I have been both farmer and gardener in my time.

Many modern makers of finished ‘product’ remain proudly attached to their finished works and in this ‘build and move on’ climate, too few remain in touch with their former ‘babies’ long enough to experience their growing pains. When I design a garden I enjoy seeing it grow more than designing it.

If you are right at the start of a garden re-think and want to bat ideas around you are welcome to say hi when over this way. Drop me a line.

Build it yourself

just one example of a hose but not a template


When did we request that houses should look similar? If we are wearing a new exclusive garment at a party and someone walks in wearing the same thing we hate it. So why do we buy house designs that look like our neighbours?


An ever increasing amount of the built environment is ‘put together’ in a modular ‘lego’ manner. This is the same for offices, factories and housing. The result is that you can often be in the suburbs of one city and not recognise it from another.

It’s hard enough to ensure the environment is treated with care and attention to local conditions, both societal and natural, but when one local condition mirrors the next, nothing feels that unique and special.

So long as a plan works, it might not feel so bad being ‘slotted in’ to it. But for when plans goes wrong, and this has been known, we need to be able to improvise thus know how to flex both in mind and body. At the HoBB, we work around the unexpected and encourage our friends to experience working with us. We delight in getting a lot more jobs done, we create fine food, and everyone enjoys the good company.

It’s also a good opportunity to get out into the country and see the stars at night, to have chats in the kitchen and ideas round the fireside. There’s every truth in the saying that ‘many hands make light work’ and we have plenty of artistic projects to have fun with every year so let us know when you are fit for the challenge and come and see us.

~~~~~~~~~~ <+))))))))>< ~~~ waves from Grant