Garden inspiration

What a fantastic way to spend a (partially) sunny weekend… looking around other people’s gardens!

In a small village, about two miles away, Mum and I visited 24 gardens over two afternoons as part of an open garden festival. I love looking through magazines for inspiration but nothing compares to seeing gardens up close.

Aside from getting that warm fuzzy feeling, the whole experience provided a fascinating insight into the British psyche… Armed with a map of the village we roamed from house to house on a mission to find new garden design ideas as well as new planting schemes.

No two gardens were alike; some were large and formal; others small and rambling. Planting was generally organic rather than staged and you could tell that people just loved to garden (and their gardens). What I hadn’t bargained for was the extent to which people moved beyond plants and soft/hard landscaping to create their own little havens matched perfectly to their personalities and obsessions! For example, the first Georgian house we visited just off the high street had a miniature train track running around the perimeter and a very excitable owner keeping the train and carriages moving past their stations. Another garden lover had a corner plot complete with hot tub, pond and chicken coup!

Other fun elements included a hill with secret kiddy tunnel, an enormous medieval castle dominating the back garden of a family home, and a teeny weeny garden filled with all manner of decorative objects including the inimitable gnome! All set in a small village no more than two miles square… what a treat.

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However, for me it was the traditional garden elements that I enjoyed the most. Above are some of the ideas I hope to introduce into the garden at The Little Grange: stone boundary walls, big old gnarly trees, formal buxus hedges, wisteria in full bloom, well-planted vegetable patches and a suspended garden bench. SCH

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