My friend and I trotted off to the Barwell Open Gardens at the weekend, and have to say, had a fine old time. Who’d have thought there would be so many lovely gardens (and garden owners), all on our own doorstep?
One of them was an absolute riot of colour, and looked as though stuff just popped up where it seeded, which suited the owner just fine. He even offered us cuttings of anything we fancied – how tempting to whip out our trusty tools and start snipping away…
Another was one of the tiniest plots you could imagine, but was absolutely packed with plants. Every spare inch of space had been used: from the raised beds, to the massive collection of pots – even the fence had plants rambling all over it.
In contrast, the ‘low maintenance’ garden just required a quick whip round with the lawnmower after a hard day at work, and the garden was done, leaving the owners with plenty of time to sit back and enjoy it.
One garden’s previous life was the orchard of the old manor house in Barwell that was demolished in the 1960s. The owners had found all sorts of treasures in the garden, and had used these to bring interest and a certain quirkiness to their cottage garden. An old ladder was now a trellis, and some tin baths had a new lease of life as garden seats. It transpired that the owners had even met the legendary Geoff Hamilton himself, and garden had featured in one of his books. High praise indeed…
The allotments were a delight to see. Each plot had the individual stamp of their owners, and it felt like a place that would be thriving with activity on a Sunday morning. It was also encouraging to see that my own vegetables were just at the stages they should be.
Another of the gardens had a series of raised vegetable beds that led you nicely to a truly impressive white wisteria, which trailed all around the garden. Beyond that was the largest collection of orchids we’d ever seen, all thriving happily as the greenhouse had been kitted out with everything to keep them at the right temperature and humidity – a labour of love if ever we saw one.
Seeing other gardens is a great way of getting new ideas, and I was brimming with them on returning home.
Imagine the other half’s delight, when I announced that the all the vegetable plots should be converted to raised beds, and the decking area would be complete with a pergola-type affair along one side. Oh, and while he was at it, could I possibly have a trellis to split off the veg patch a bit?
We’ll talk orchids later…