is a Registered  Charity (number: 1174239) in England & Wales

PURPOSE: To advance education in the subjects of horticulture, conservation , wildlife and heritage by providing study courses, training placements, talks, and workshops and other means for the enrichment of the Wiltshire/Calne and S.Glos/N.Somerset area communities and for the improvement of human well being in general based upon the Founder’s garden, library, writings, teaching and spiritual philosophy.

News, Developments, Projects and Progress

a diary of transformation fired by passion

News Items

View down the length of the garden August 2016

THEN: January 2012 the garden was started from a small field- as in the second slide show above.


NOW: August 2016. The first slide show indicates the garden after working through several projects and as in the picture to the right.


September 2015: Garden accepted onto the National Gardens Scheme.


Here is a short selection of news items of events, developments, announcements since March 2016:


OctoberAnnual General Meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Trust and  approval of the annual accounts; annual report to the Trustees; and annual report to the Charity Commission.


AugustDonation of half a cubic metre of ready mixed/wet mortar from regional house builder, enabling building of 8 stone columns/sculptures and a small stone grotto.

Extensive planting of new flowering shrubs throughout the garden.

JulyAntoine Poterie from France was a volunteer with the Trust throughought the month.

Past volunteer (and now a Trustee) Simon Kerstan came to viit for a week and we undertook an exploration of the Dartmoor landscape, and its archaeology, flora and

JuneMark Sarkadi from Hungary had a two week placement with us.

The Founder/CEO undertook a five day visit to Germany to visit one of our Trustees and his family.

May Donation of 72 concrete blocks; 500 bricks; and 1 tonne of stone  from regional house builder.

Creation of an excellent film on the garden by Vito Spiekermann.

April: Vito Spiekermann undertook an internship here for 3 months via his school in Berlin (March to to June).

MarchLevin Knauer from Germany was a volunteer here from 26 Februayry to 17th. April.

 February Simon Kerstan one of our volunteers from 2018, who is now also one of our Trustees, comes back to us in February for 12 days for a holiday.

January-February: Giovanni Steeger and Luise Volker (from the same city as Simon) from Germany were with us 20th.January to 01st.March.  They were engaged in starting off the Spring preparation  projects.


January: Vist to Switzerland by the Founder as guest of the Meier family. David was our our very first "Workaway" volunteer starting in 2017.


January : Niklas Habig from Germany until 22 January. Helping us prepare for the coming Spring and clearing winter debris. And painted the new 2m drive gates.




November-December: Niklas Habig from Germany

September-December: Lucas Biau from France

August: Giovanni Mottinni from Italy

July Julian Bucher from Germany

July-August: Gabriel Dily from France

June: Jung Wok-Hwang from South Korea

Mach-May: Simon Kerstan from Germany

March. H.M.R.C.: Happy to report that H.M.R.C. have written to say that following our application to be accepted and having had our accounts/bank statements/activities and other documentation scrutinised we have now been successfully registered as a charity for tax purposes under the terms of Schedule 6 of the Finance Act of 2010 backdated to take effect as from 14th.August 2017. It also confirms that for tax purposes our Trust is recognised by HMRC as a C.I.O. (charitable incorporated organisation). We are now also eligible for Gift Aid and related matters.

February= The Fire Pit in the woodland area was completely rebuilt and moved. A new large vegetable plot in the Woodland Area was laid out and edged off with brick. Foreign student heritage visit guides composed and printed visits. Theo Laborde: From France is with us from 20th.February until 29th.

January= Ryan Miller from California USA is with us from 26th.January to 23rd.February. He hes been generally helping out and developing new ideas for community projects.


January= Aboriculture Assistantship created. Voluntary placement half or one day a week. Helping to to look after the large collection of specimen trees. (See Studies page) Start of the erection of 6ft. high trellis fence screening along the back (north boundary) of the Urn Garden (later to be extended along the Exotics Garden). Construction of 8ft high wooden arch leading from the summerhouse /waterfall area to the Conifer garden and Woodland beyond.

February= Construction of gateway arch from waterfall to conifers garden. Laying of textured slabs to make path/patio at rear of summerhouse. Extension of trellis along vack of exotics garden.

March= Josh Saunders appointed from Bath University to be wildlife & environmental assistant 2017. Construction of large 3 seater arbour bench (painted primrose yellow) for carnations garden. Carnations garden totally re-designed and slightly expanded. Writing and completion of the constitution/deed of trust for the charitable incorporated organisation. Re-organisation of Exotics Garden together with addition of bamboo plant and banana tree and other items.

April= James Thompson, my volunteer/ student (who has been with me since August 2016), is now seeking a full time gardening apprenticeship. After several months all the documents for the Charity Commission application have now been completed and ready for submission. Moved the three Olive Trees from the woodland into the vegetable garden to make an avenue effect (one left to transfer from the pool area when another palm tree arrives). The space saved in the woodland will open up an area which will become an undercover teaching space sometime in 2018. The founding Trustees for the Charity Commission application are now finalised and signed up., They are: Stephen Cox; Colette Som; James Thompson; Cllr. Robert MacNaughtion; and Nicholas Self. The first meeting of the Board of Trustees was held on 3rd.April. Josh Saunders from Bath University is now engaged in his volunteering placement with me. A digital colour coded map of the garden to exact scale is being produced by Josh. When completed with a key/index it will be uploaded to the website and hard copies printed as guides for visitors to the garden. New anti-heron fence built around perimeter of pond in black with matrix of poles across open water for extra defence. Scale map of the garden is now completed. Medieval raised beds (2 beds of 4.8 metres by 1 metre) and courtyard space being created in the vegetable garden. This will include: two wooden benches, planters (for globe artichokes & cardoons, peas etc), fountains, and four seasons statues.

May= Elderly Visits: This has now been added to oir community projects as of 2017. We welcome visits (free) to the garden by small groups residents (with a carer) of local nursing homes and retirement homes. A chance to relax, listen to the birds and fountains, watch the butterflies and dragon flies and look at the flowers. Free. Ferns: A collection of ferns has been started in a shady section of the garden. Commencing with 8 species but more being added soon.

June= Apprenticeship: Very pleased to announce that James Thompson, my volunteer/ student (who has been with me since August 2016), applied for and was successful in being offered a gardening apprenticeship at a large country estate in Wiltshire. He takes up his post when his college term ends. Moorish Quad: has been revamped with addition of two stone benches, moving the dwarf olives trees to form a screen at the open side, planting 8 half-standard (lollipop) rose trees (white, yellow, orange, peach/cream) in the tubs vacated by the olives. Young Offenders : We have made an agreement with Wiltshire Young Offenders Unit to provide voluntary work placements for first time offenders for the reparation part their sentencing. One young individual at a time (under statutory supervision) comes to us on specific times/dates. We provide tuition to enable them to carry out their reparation work. Lives can be turned around! Charlotte Woolley: Has joined us as a volunteeer. She is a student at the University of the West of England snf will be helping out in the garden one day a week throughout the summer vacation. Oleanders : In red, peach, white, and pink have been added at various places throughout the garden. Twelve half-standard specimens so far.

July= PrivateViewing: Attended by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, and tye Mayor of Calne, and several local Councillors. Over 42 people enjoyed a sunny afternoon tour of the garden. Including visitors from Bath, Weymouth, Dorchester and Reading. Over £160 raised for Trust funds. Tea and scones were served (baked Colette Som & Mary Aylen). My thanks to the Trustees for helping out and also to Angie & Martin Cleverly Young Offenders: Placements are now happening each week. One young person (with a supervisor) at a time for three hours. Good to see them gain confidence, work hard, start to engage and open up. Hopefully they will gain from the sessions and redirect their lives. Eddington & Tinhead Womens Institute : A party of 25 members all keen gardeners. The rain held off for their arrival. I started with a little talk, and then gave out maps. Then they had a leisurely tour of my unusual demesne. A lively and friendly group it was a pleasure to show around. Finally followed by tea and scones (kindly baked by Colette Som and Mary Aylen).

August= Bishop's Cannings Gardening Club A visit by 27 of their members it was a delight to show around. The weather decided to sun up a little in time for their 6pm arrival. A lively and appreciative group with lots of questions, exchanges of anecdotes, informed discussion and requests for advice on problems. It felt like Gardeners' Question Time live! Then sit down tea and biscuits. Surprised to get a little thank you speech and round of applause! Pool Refurb Stage one is now complete: erection of 5ft. high feather-edge fencing panels (& posts with ball & cap finials) all around perimeter of the patio/ decking area. Palm Trees Three torbay palms of 6ft high installed in the pool patio area. Cat Statues:Three stone statues of musical cats (playing trumpet, guitar, flute) installed in the fuchsia beds. Rabbit Statues :Three stone statue of rabbits installed in the Urns Garden flower bed: Peter Rabbit together with Mr.&Mrs Rabbut just married. Charity Registration : After a long haul of much work including the development of over 23 extensive documents explaining our objects, aims and activities in detail today, the 14th.August 2017, the Stephen Cox Garden Trust was officiallly recognised by the Charity Commissioners as a registered charity under law in England and Wales and has accordingly been entered onto the Register of Charities. Registered Charity number: 1174239

September= Whetman Pinks We are pleased to announce that Whetman Pinks of Devon (who are a long standing grower, premier breeder, supplier and exporter of all types of pinks of many different varieties have become our very first business sponsor and are kindly sponsoring the room 'Theophrastus Corner' by supplying us with carnations, pinks, dianthus etc. Visit them at: Waterfall and Pools Are undergoing a major refurbishment by building an extension to the second pool thereby more doubling it in length to 16ft. Additionally a higher stone wall at the rear is beng constructed.

October= Waterfall & Pools The second drop waterfall pool has now been extended from 4 ft to over 16 feet and approximately over 3.5 feet wide. This is also edged with limestone and other rocks as is the rest of the waterfall. At the back a wall of rocks frames the pool. It is completed by a small bubbling fountain at the far end adding sound and movement. Heather Garden ('Heath Ridge') As a result of the above work the heather garden has also been expanded and is awaiting planting. Unused Space Used None of the above resulted in loss of lawn or extant garden/features since all new development used up ground previously wasted under the very large conifer trees. Gardening Club Bookings For 2018 for private group visits already confirmed are: Broughton Gardening Club; and also Box Gardening Club. Woodland Picket fence erected down entire eastern boundary of the emergent woodland area (360sq.yds). Privet hedge planted down 60% (space at south for composting zone and space at north for benches and fire box. David Meier from Switzerland was our volunteer garden student from 11th.October to 15th.November. David was a great asset and in his time made several improvements to the garden and designed and initiated some new projects.

November= Ice Alpines We are pleased to announce that Ice Alpines are sponsoring the alpine garden Wilderswil. Pepperpot Nursery We are pleased to announce that Pepperpot Nursery are sponsoring the herb garden Culpepper's Delights. Bastien Sauvet from Switzerland is our volunteer garden student from 10th. November to 22nd. December. Alpine Garden Dramatic expansion. Increasing size by three or four times. Required an extra 3 cubic metres of soil, and increased height. Landscaped into varying heights/undulating. Wide range of plants. Assisted by Bastien Sauvet. Dwarf/Mushroom Garden Created from an unused storage area between the Gym, Waterfall pool and Elf house. Advised, instigated and executed by David Meier.


March= Small collection of Hostas added to Exotics Patio. Collection of Cannas added to the Exotics Garden.

April= New path added from entry Arch along side Cottage Garden to rear of Vegetable Garden. Wooden benches added to the entrance patio & tree collection. Waterlilies added to pond. Extra fish species added to the Pond: White Ogon; Ginnrinn; Fantail; Blue Panda; Red Shubunkin. Yellow shubunkin. Lord Lansdowne wrote to congratulate me on the appearance of my garden in NGS Yellow Book.

May= Perennial Begonia Collection begun. Garden Library expanded. Improved & expanded planting scheme in the Exotics Garden & patio. Grasses garden expanded to include the addition of small collection of Phormiums. Signposts added to some of the rooms/collections to commemorate innovators: Paston; Plumiere; Banks; Pindar; Jekyll; Theophrastus; Forster. Other signposts added were: Dartmoor Bells; Lepidoptera Place; Heath Ridge; Wildersvill; Froggy Waters. A Badger has started visiting the garden!

June= Private viewing/official opening with Lord & lady Lansdowne. Guests also included the Mayor of Calne. Studley Villagers open day. Visit by Dauntsey Womens Institute. Beech hedge Yellow Border & wall added in side garden.

July= The first open day for the National Gardens Scheme raised £270 for their charities. 90 people attended between 2 and 6pm. Open day for Derry Hill villagers. Open day for the Environment Working Group of the Steering Committee of the Calne Communities Neighbourhood Plan.

August= The first student (James Thompson) started work & study in the garden half day a week. Proposal for Wildlife Workshops announced to commence in 2017 for local people. Special flower bed created including five Bee Boxes and bee feeding station. First recording in the garden of the 'Marbled White' butterfly. Two more statues added: one in the Moorish Courtyard and the other at the Waterfall. Vegetable Parterre garden redeveloped. Newts added to the Wetland Garden.

September= Alpine Garden ('Wilderswill') expanded, more plants added and drystone wall heightened. Waterfall and Pools greatly expanded. Charitable trust & local villagers gardening society proposed. New NGS profile approved. My Garden Website launched. Coastal plants collection started. The first recording in the garden of the 'Painted Lady' butterfly. Meeting with The Richmond Fellowship on possible association/projects. Butterfly garden cleared and resown from scratch. Frog hides created in waterfall walls & pools.

October= Lord Lansdowne wrote to congratulate me on my garden website and how much he enjoyed it. He said it was very professional and informative and that he hoped it would inspire others. Drystone wall built at bench & patio behind the waterfall. Long process begun of reducing 13ft high boundary hedge along length of garden. This has put part of the garden in almost permanent shadow and severly debililated Vegetable Garden and the Dianthus Garden (incl.plant loss in that part). Nursery/plant sale section (donations to keep the garden open for charity fundraising and maintain it) reorganised and now also fully labelled all year round. Beginning of Buddleia hedge planted in emergent Woodland area. Some bird-gifted deciduous trees (oak, beech, maple) potted up and awaiting planting on. Megalithic style doorway created between wetland and alpine garden; about 6 ft. high. Eight columns/piles of very large rocks added throughout Herbarium to add height and contrast. Rock edging added to Heathers bed to better link it in with waterfalls rockery. Small pool and water shoot added at rear of bed. *

November= Additional educational placement created: Wildlife & Environment Assistant. (conservation; surveying; auditing; habitats; planning; local environment; neighbourhood plan). 1 day a week. Fence created along length of woodland area. Native trees and mixed hedging planted. Large wooden Arbour with bench and storage box added to the hammock patio area between beach and herbarium. Four large conifers at formal rose quad/fountain replaced with lemon scented pencil topiary conifers (previous conifers moved to woodland). Six lollipop topiary ornamental Bay trees added to formal rose walk between sundial and pergola fountain. Six lollipop topiary ornamental Olive trees added to griffins walk near entrance to garden. (4 of previous conifers moved to corners of rose quad and two to woodland). New large bookcase added to sunmerhouse. An extra 35 books added to summerhouse garden library. Another four standard/clear stem ('lollipop') Bay trees added to the formal Sundial beds/walk. Also four standard/clear stem ('lollipop') Olive trees added to Fountain rose Quad Together these Bay trees and Olive trees establish a dynamic perpective down the centre of the garden. The hammock patio area with fountain and arbour bench totally re-designed to become The Urn Garden. Hammock removed to Pool. New bed created along Exotics wall. Two stone urns added to the four large ones already there. Four more stone urns on tall pedestals ordered. Area to be planted in shades of blue/white/ cream perennials. 

December= 500 Trust business cards designed and printed. Nick Self donated 23 books on ecology, environmental studies, conservation etc to the Library. Charitable communities/clubs bank account successfully opened. Paypal account set up. Donations button added enabling direct contributions by credit cards or paypal. New higher wall added between Urn Garden and Exotics Garden as visually more separate 'rooms'. New 8 ft high wooden arch added as entry to/from Exotics Garden and Urn Garden. Conservation Group launched to help improve wildlife/ conservation aspects of imminent development of 53 houses at former nursery in Studley Lane.


The garden is private and is not open to the public on a daily basis. The Trust and the Garden is not a business or commercial enterprise and is strictly not-for-profit. It is a private educational Trust serving charitable objectives for the public good as defined by Charity Law in England and Wales. However in the interest of education and public benefit and to help enable others appreciate its work Stephen Ben Cox invites schools/gardening clubs/w.i's and other groups to arrange a private tour of his garden by prior appointment (the private visits season 2019 is: 14 May to 01 August). The Trust (registered charity number: 1174239) is unfunded except for donations. All income is used entirely to support the work and goals of the Trust. Stephen Ben Cox, the Trustees and Volunteers work unpaid. The Trust is seeking business sponsors to support the goals and activities of the Trust. Individual donations are also gratefully received .


Any opportunity, event, facility or activity listed is philanthropic and offered in a private capacity in a spirit of good will for the benefit and enrichment of society. No project or activity or anything published on this website grants any rights or assumptions of private access, or any other rights to either property or possession thereon or therein.


All visitors, volunteers, students, etc assume full personal responsibility for any accident/injury/ damage/loss to themselves or their possessions. Any visitor/volunteer/ student etc visits/partakes of their own volition and at their own risk. No claims will be accepted. Visitors should take note with regards to such things as: uneven ground, spiky/thorny plants, deep water, loose rocks & walling, slippery paving etc Students and volunteers must accept all our guides/terms produced for their well-being, health and safety.