Last Saturday I combined calling in on my cousin with a visit to an intriguing garden open for the National Garden Scheme. Entrance was by slipping through the back gate into an informal area, and for a moment I wondered if I had come the right way.
The plan eased my mind and was a promise of greater things ahead, and as with so many gardens open for the National Garden Scheme it did not disappoint. The modern house built by the owners some 9 years ago is in the shape of a cross and is very much at the centre of the garden.
This cross shape in effect dictates the layout of the garden marking out four separate but connecting gardens. Walking down across the roughly mown lawn, I come to west side of the house where raised beds are filled with vegetables and flowers.
It is a marvellous idea to place the productive side of the garden so close to the house rather than banishing it to the far reaches of the garden. It must be a real joy and so convenient to be able to just step outside and pick your vegetables,
and to enjoy the scent of those heavenly sweet peas.
I step through the wooden covered walkway which extends out like an arm from the house and cleverly acts as a division.
Here there is a quite different feel. An informal pond is the point of focus, making good use of this northern aspect. A striking sculpture by Paul Richards sits between pond and house. It must be a delight to watch the visiting wildlife from the comfort of an Adirondack chair.
Further away from the pond is a semi-circular border is bursting with colour;
familiar favourites in amongst the bright crocosmia such as this delightful salvia,
and rich hemoracallis.
Away from the house paths lead between mature trees,
and meander through the long grass,
where there are delightful places to sit and chill. It is as though these two decorative deck chairs are having their own dialogue.
The front door of the house is on the east side where the drive sweeps in, and alongside the yew hedge is softened by sections of ornamental grass.
On the other side of the drive is an arbor which leads you into a secret garden,
where a Lutyens bench sits majestically behind a table. The hand sanitiser a small sign of the times.
The planting by the front door is soft and free flowing.
Romneya coulteri, the Californian tree poppy steals the show with petals like finely crumpled tissue paper,
and the pot plants tumble through the front door.
You don’t really appreciate how much this house is on a slope, and now, on the other side of the house and through the door and up the steps, the mood changes again.
A mixed native hedge runs along the boundary on the left hand side and fruit trees grow in this wild meadow,
contrasting with the informal but careful colourful planting next to the house.
Paving and plants wrap comfortably around the house. Familiar favourites which include lavender, gaura, perovskia and verbena.
Agastache ‘Black Adder’, Mexican giant hyssop is particularly at home here.
Each side of the house moves effortlessly out into the garden and each side is subtly divided. The wall is smothered in delightfully scented trachelospermum jasminoides and on through the open door,
I am back where I started in the vegetable area.
It has been a delight to see this garden so thoughtfully designed and such an integral part of the house. Wildlife-friendly, it is a pure pleasure and a moment of freedom for all of us in these strange restricted times.
Each Monday a variety of gardens to visit are uploaded onto the website www. ngs.org.uk So why don’t you find one near you, pre-book a ticket, and Help Support Our Nurses.