Tucked away down a narrow lane in the Hampshire countryside we found Beechenwood Farm open on a Wednesday. At the gate one of the new signs with the ngs branding is displayed.
These garden owners are ngs stalwarts having opened for over 30 years. Not just for one day, they share their garden every Wednesday from March to June.
The road sign may be new, however these notices are charmingly out of date. The owners are keen to stress that the money raised goes to nursing funds. Perhaps nowadays there are too many beneficiaries listed on the posters?
As I read the information a rich scent from a Daphne floats across.
The first part of the garden by the house is a walled area. Previously a swimming pool it is now laid out as a herb garden.
Clematis armandii grows is covered in flowers above the corner bench.
There is a gentle sound of water coming from the small round pond.
Large shrubs of chaenomeles give a splash of colour.
A circle of Comfrey grows beneath the pink prunus set in the brick paving.
The urn is a giant, softened by moss growing on its shoulders.
Another clematis armandii, slightly pink, grows against the house.
And then there is a sudden burst of colour from the pots along the stepped and trellised walkway.
A gentle clematis alpina grows to the side.
Not all the pots are so bright. This one on an old cornerstone is filled with water.
In the woodland, garden paths are mown through the long grass and daffodils.
I visited a garden recently where the owner each year plants thousands of daffodils which are lovely but all the same variety. Here there is a rich medley:
Varieties of different shapes and colour.
Ornaments stand amongst the drifts, including this fine owl.
And a very happy dog?
This elegant birdbath is positioned amongst a planting of periwinkle.
There is a narrow strip of the garden which extends through trees and out on a limb. A monument signifies the end and behind is the ‘belvedere’, a raised platform reached by steps and a scaffolded ramp.
Where, on a fine day you can look out across the countryside! Today we just have to be content to imagine a blue sky!
Heading back towards the orchard we pass this fox stealing across a meadow of fritillary.
It is good to come across a young wollemi pine; an interesting tree it dates back to the dinosaurs and there are fewer than 100 now in the wild.
The apple trees in the orchard have been skilfully kept in beautiful shape.
At the far end of the orchard is a bed where not a patch of bare earth shows through and an assortment of metal structures wait to be covered.
The greenhouse is warm, packed and very busy.
An assortment of precious rosettes:
To the right of the greenhouse are the neat and beautifully tended vegetable beds.
Nearby is a beech, its rounded shape is echoed at the raised base.
Where we find an exotic trillium poking above the celandine.
Across the lane there is more to explore. A further orchard where plums trees are coming into flower.
Such exquisite blossom.
While the husband takes a call on his mobile, I head for the tennis court. Not as you can see for the game. No match played here now the children have left home. It is however in excellent use for plant sales and they are in good condition and very reasonably priced.
We take the path through in the eight acre copse, where we disturb a group of roe deer. The wood was planted in 1992 with beech, oak, prunus and a sequoia.
We have explored every corner, there has been much to see, and plenty in flower. Surely it is time for tea. We return to the house and take it in the courtyard.
The sun has not shone but we are cheered by not only the bloom of a glorious camellia but also the very good coffee and walnut cake!
Before we go we are alerted by an Amber warning: