The delights of visiting ‘Open Gardens’

What a wonderful idea ‘Open Gardens’ are, whether you are a gardener in need of inspiration and ideas, enjoy meeting fellow gardeners or just love looking round other people’s gardens I can highly recommend them.  The ones I wandered round with a friend on Sunday were local to me and open in aid of charity but I’m sure you will find something similar all over the country.


There was an interesting selection of different gardens to look round from the large landscaped plot to the more modest ‘back garden’ plots.  The very strong sunlight made taking photographs of plants, particularly close-ups quite tricky so I have included a more quirky selection of shots that either inspired or amused me!

I loved the sweeping landscaping in the first garden we visited (probably our favourite) with wide lawns, specimen trees/shrubs and at the bottom a lake, gorgeous and very tempting to just jump in the water!  Instead we settled for sitting on the seating on the jetty, very calm, peaceful and tranquil surrounded by bird song, geese in the lake and myriad shades of green and reflections.  To be honest we would have been happy to just stay in this garden all day!

I did spot some lovely Zantedeshia aethiopica (White Arum Lily) growing in a very impressive grouping but the main selling point for this garden was probably the lake.

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The second garden had been developed over a long period of time with the same owners and had some very impressive mediterranean planting, definitely useful if the current trend for much drier seasons continues!

The next garden was much more naturalistic, a style of planting I really like and with a great selection of trees including a Catalpa and a Juglans regia (Walnut) with wonderful bark, both casting some very welcome shade and providing respite from the heat!

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I spotted some lovely plants in the next garden including Verbena rigida, much more neat and compact then the taller Verbena bonariensis that you usually see.  Do also look out for Verbena ‘Lollipop’ also much lower growing and that I am experimenting with this year and using as the backdrop in large pots in a clients gardens along with trailing white Verbena and Convolvulus ‘Manati Deep Blue’

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These type of  Verbena isn;t completely hardy but given the trend to milder winters very often make it through although that they do seed themselves around freely so look out for seedlings in spring if you try some in your garden.  It’s interesting to note that the seeds need to experience a winter dormancy period in order to germinate and its much easier to allow this to happen naturally in the garden then try to recreate this using the process of stratification.


I think gardens can be too serious sometimes and introducing some fun elements is a brilliant idea, which is why I love these sculptures and plants supports, they really do make you smile!  I like to include these type of elements in my own garden as well as hanging art and creative pieces in the trees and on the fences and walls.

I have to admit that we cheated with the final garden (well it was some way out of the village) and drove to it on way out of the village.  They had a great herb garden and their Saliva officinalis ‘Purpurascens’ looked truly magnificent in flower.

There were 12 gardens in all but I have to admit the heat got the better of us and even a 1/2 of cider in the pub followed by a picnic lunch couldn’t revive us enough to visit all of them!  We probably managed about half of them as we started not long after they opened and decided to walk round them all, probably a slightly mad decision given the fierce heat of yesterday!

Do go out visiting gardens if you can, its relaxing, inspiring and you get to see some amazing gardens and meet some lovely people along the way.   I have to finish my post with this whimsical shot, which really amused me – just be glad they don’t come in this size in real life!!

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