Perched on the cliffs above the Cornish fishing village of Coverack, Ukiyo is a haven where flower-filled hedgerows fall away to a concert of blue.

“The combination of empty, rugged, primeval coastline out front and a mild, mellow climate in an exceptionally sheltered nook makes it hard not to be inspired”, explains professional landscape designer, Mic Talbot, owner of Cornish-based company Iron Orchid and creative force behind the outdoor space at Ukiyo. He states that his favourite aspect of gardening is the “diversity of locations it takes him to” and Coverack was no different.

His preference for seemingly uncared-for gardens, a trend started by Capability Brown in the 18th Century, he explains that at Ukiyo, “We tried to retain and use as much of the existing features that were already there, such as the unique Lizard stone, and combine that ruggedness with slick hard landscape lines and full, almost frothing plantings of grasses and eccentric, architectural specimen plants.”

Fuelling his earliest memories was the enjoyment of being immersed in the tranquillity that outdoor spaces provide. “I remember the first garden I experienced was a domestic jungle, foliage surrounding everywhere and the feeling of being wrapped up in it has created my love for a heaving planting style; the more depth and detail in the planting the better for me.” This style can be seen at Ukiyo, where the craggy coastline has inspired the built-up wilderness in which it sits.


There is an added pressure on development in these quaint, unspoiled villages with such a rich history and ensuring that tradition and antiquity are upheld to blend in with the area is essential. Mic admits “The project was a success, but it was hard-won.”

“Landscape transformations such as this one are rarely a quick and easy process” states Mic, however, there are certain small and cost-effective changes you can make. “For me, a garden should be a space that slows you down and reminds you that peace is in nature. Standing still, looking, and listening is such a raw experience that can’t be replicated.”

A meaningful change can be simple but should always compliment your personality, and Mic advises “sitting still in your garden, taking time to notice the positive aspects and things that make you feel good. You can creatively screen or change these things with beautiful natural materials and plantings.”

Delving into what makes an outdoor space resonate with him, Mic finishes by stating that “witnessing the ever-changing colours, nature and wildlife is the best thing about having a garden.”