Do you ever yearn to know what is going on behind closed gates? Maybe you’re an avid gardener like me, and wonder what others do with their own outdoor spaces? I have the perfect remedy…
An open garden event. Each year since the 1920s, British gardeners have opened their inner sanctums to the outside world through the National Garden Scheme. I have recently visited a couple of examples of this contradiction to “Britishness”, where a stiff upper lip hidden away gives in to a knee-trembling voyeurism of floral proportions.
On a more intense scale was the Lymm Open Gardens Day, on Sunday 02 July 2017, part of the wider Lymm Festival (most of which I missed unfortunately). All ticket proceeds went to charity at St Rocco’s Hospice, while each garden offered up refreshments (food and drink, alcoholic and non-alcoholic) for a small price that went to charities of the owners’ own choice. It was all exceedingly good fun with fresh air, exercise, chit-chat and warmheartedness.
We followed the accompanying brochure in an extremely higgledy piggledy fashion, beginning with (7) No 16 Burford Lane. I was simply astounded by what a winding little oasis of calm and colour there was flourishing behind the hedge, right beside the road!
Next we wandered our way onto the Transpennine Trail to (2) and (3), gardens off Green View, whose gardens looked over open fields in the height of summer. Both plots were very different, number 7 bursting at the seams with plants of all varieties, number 8 more restrained and selective with the contribution of the owner’s own artwork (Paul Scates, for those who would like a look). They just go to show that you don’t need a vast area to do a lot.
There were several other brilliant gardens, including (5) Lucas Croft, The Avenue, with its “traditional” suburban lawn and flowerbeds concealing a magical shady spot complete with fish pond, arbour and acers, and (6) No 64 Crouchley Lane, home to a more Arts & Crafts feel cottage garden. Also outstanding was (1) 20 Pepper Street, near the heart of Lymm village: a more modern residence backing onto a sophisticated, whitewashed LA-esque garden which I was thrilled to hear incorporated reused elements of the owners’ own Tatton Show show garden. It was the perfect place to end our tour of Lymm’s private outdoor spaces, with a young DJ, proseccos and beer, and plenty of cheer. Sadly, I didn’t get a picture..!
I have to say though that my absolute favourite was (8) No 10 Statham Avenue, at the opposite end of the Transpennine Trail through Lymm. I was utterly unprepared for this work of art and technical wizardry. A steeply sloping garden rising up to the Bridgewater Canal, it had carefully and considerately been carved into paved terraces, plentiful seating areas and abundant flowerbeds since the early 1980s. There are veg patches – by the kitchen rather than stuffed away down the garden, practical and endearing – and social spots, the latter of which we’re getting much use, and rightly so!
All I can say is… A job very well done to the event organisers and participants, and I look forward to future occasions! I only wish more villages and towns did such wonderful, sociable and charitable open garden days.
Does your locality hold a similar event regularly? If so, do let us know – I’m always game for a visit!