The garden redevelopment has helped Fiona fight ME
A woman with ME believes redeveloping an overgrown garden has been of huge benefit to her.
Fiona Edmond was working in London as a garden designer when she was struck down with the debilitating condition.
She said working on a 20-acre site that originally belonged to Ardleigh Park helped deal with her illness.
"It's almost worked as a therapy for me. Once I ventured out and discovered what we had taken on, the task of designing it started," said Fiona.
"It was owned by a spinster lady who decided when it got to big for her that she would have a bungalow designed for her on the piece of land which know as the island," said Fiona.
The house was built in 1958, the garden was originally Ardleigh Park's orchard.
One of the first areas Fiona developed was the Japanese garden
"We moved here in 1996. We were living in London with two small children, unfortunately I was struck down with ME," said Fiona.
"I was so ill that my mother picked us up and took us to her family home where we lived with them for six months.
"Having sold our house in London we realised we could actually buy a lot more with our money, so it was actually fate that led us to Green Island," she added.
At the time Fiona was so ill they she did not realise what a vast project she was taking on.
"I couldn't envisage working or designing gardens or doing anything like that," said Fiona.
Work began on the redevelopment of the grounds in 1997 in the area adjacent to house where a Japanese garden was created.
The seaside garden was constructed in 2002 with low maintenance in mind
From there Fiona went on to develop about an acre to the south of the house. The area was lawn, overgrown flowerbeds and the vegetable garden.
"I redesigned that with some huge island beds which we edged in logs we'd found fallen in the woods," said Fiona.
The woodland suffered in the storms of 1987, with 90% of the mature oaks and chestnuts destroyed.
The volume of
snow early in 2010
has also made an impact, with its weight breaking a lot of plants particularly evergreens.
Within the grounds there are also seaside, water, gravel and woodland gardens.
Future plans include the development of the wood, which has a number of rare plants sourced from across the country and abroad.
"I would like to do a South African themed garden in memory of my paternal grandmother who died last year, sadly," said Fiona.
"There's not a day goes by when I don't think about her. She loved coming over here, listening to the birds.
"It's a very special atmosphere you have to come here to appreciate it, and I really would like to do a garden in her memory," she added.
For more information about
Green Island Gardens
visit the website.