Thursday, 12 June 2008

An English country garden

Whilst I really enjoy tackling my own garden, I also love visiting other people’s gardens for inspiration. In the last month I have been to several great places that I have really enjoyed and that have inspired me to try things in my own garden. Visiting gardens is something that I started to do with my mum a few years ago. It is a really lovely way to spend time together as we both appreciate the gardens and I can gain some knowledge by asking her questions. But we are also spending time together where we are not distracted by the hustle and bustle of day to day life.

We took my Mum’s friend Lee and her daughter Cathleen to Wyken Vineyards in Suffolk in May. Lee is American but regularly comes to the UK armed with a list of things she wants to do. She had been to the Vineyard some years ago on an organised tour, but the guide had only allowed her to have lunch there and not to see the garden. Needless to say this time she was not going to miss out on seeing them. It was the most perfect day. The weather was glorious, the sky was a really deep blue with not a cloud in the sky and it made the house in the vineyard, which is a deep terracotta colour, look even more stunning.

We had lunch at the café before setting off into the vast four acres of gardens. It was interesting to see another mother/daughter pair enjoying the gardens and the four of us all agreed that we are lucky to be able to spend a wonderful day together. I also enjoyed seeing the different breeds of chickens they have roaming around. Since getting my girls I have become obsessed by all things chicken! This little cockerel was my favourite, I think he is a bantam. He tried to crow as loudly as the full size cockerels, he wasn’t as loud but he gave it his all!

Last Saturday was one of my favourite days of the year. A friend of my mum has a beautiful garden and for the last few years she has held a plant swap party. She invites all of her friends round and asks them to bring a plant that they have too much of, they can then wander around her garden (which is not open to the public), eat some home made cake and then at the end of the day everyone dives in to grab a plant or two to take home. It is a great garden and last year it won the Times back garden of the year competition! Despite not having anything to take, Sorrell insisted I went away with something so I have a strawberry plant, an artichoke and a geranium to add to my ever growing plot.

And as if that was not enough gardens for one weekend on Sunday I went to the Eye Open Gardens with my Mum and our friend Jess. The village of Eye in Suffolk is very picturesque and has managed to retain a really retro feel to it. This year the church and town hall had organised a weekend of open gardens to raise money for various repairs. We arrived at the town hall at 1:30, paid our entrance money and were handed a map of the town with the 18 open gardens marked. We set off to explore the gardens which were all beautifully numbered by the owners. The gardens we visited were a real mixture of planting styles and ideas. The first one we visited was very well thought out but also clearly loved by the owner. She was sitting in the garden ready to tell all the visitors about the gardens history and what inspired her.

We stopped half way through for tea and scones in the town hall, very 1950’s. The spread of sandwiches, scones and cakes was very impressive but as we were off to a tea party of our own we held back.

By the time we came to the next set of gardens the sun was blazing hot and we only made it through 9 of the 18 gardens on offer. We did manage to keep going until we got to the garden with the plant sale and I picked up a pot of purple sprouting broccoli. Jess and I even managed to get our picture taken by a reporter from the Diss Express. He thought that a picture of us taking pictures of the plants was an interesting angle to go with. You can see it here picture number 8DE0608042

At the back of the garden with the plant sale is the Eye allotments which are just wonderful. If I could live in a village like this I would be very happy. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

1 comment:

Chicken Christian said...

Obsessed with all things chicken? I can hardly believe that? *wink*

The 'open' gardens sound great - will be on the lookout for something like that near me!

Really nice reading your blog.

Christian x