Easter Day. On our way to stay with some lovely friends we visited this charming garden at Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire.
The cottage was once the fever house for Missenden Abbey providing a home for the sick; hundreds of years later the connection with health is still there, now opening its gate for the NGS and providing funds for the nursing charities it supports.
The house sits perched on a higher level to the entrance gate. So we begin by going down into the green dell below the cottage. The ground is covered by hellebores, comfrey and pulmonaria interspersed with tulip.
I wonder why the ordinary comfrey I battle with at home isn’t this lovely blue variety.
Looking up towards the house the blossom on trees is bursting out.
Tree trunks elegantly frame the front door,
the beautiful blossom of malus sargentii is just appearing.
So too is Magnolia wilsonii one of the few fragrant magnolias to tolerate the chalky soil. It is a special bloom and the owner picks it for her friend who’s birthday it is. The pleasure is immense.
We take the steps up, matured with time,
to the lawn in front of the house.
Here we find a rather aged Poppy.
White comfrey, narcissi and tulip gather round the base of a sundial.
To the left of the house is a neat vegetable area. Low apple trees are trained along the path which narrows and ends just beyond the greenhouse.
Outside the greenhouse is a bed of herbs,
and inside a collection of fun looking auricula.
and in the corner a small clematis full of flowers.
Proudly displayed is a token of many years of opening for the NGS.
A bank steeply rises up behind the house; no notices to warn us off but somehow we know not to enter.
A narrow path leads along the front of the house. For now there are tulips and blossom to enjoy, later it will be roses and pears.
A delightful pond gurgles happily
Further on from the pond the neighbour’s house peeps over a confusion of shapes. It is a chilling reminder of progress; there are no neighbours now, they have left due to the HS2 rail link.
The garden studio is selling flower paintings, the proceeds will go to the NGS,
and the path leads directly down past the striking foliage of Sorbaria sorbifolia “Sem”.
and the promise of a clematis.
We climb up the steps back to the house.
where the seats echo the architecture of the windows
and pink campion seeds itself near the door.
Sometimes it is only at other people’s gardens you are allowed to sit and relax.
It is time to be on our way and leave this pretty garden. The owners have been busy with plenty of visitors. There is that lovely feeling at the end of the day when, with mug of tea in hand, you close the garden gate.
The visitors find their tea in the church where an enterprising team bake, serve and clear. Not just today but every Sunday throughout the Summer, and it is an added pleasure to be accompanied by a pianist.