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Sunday, 24 June 2012

Days of Open Gardens

Driving along the country lanes, there are a few signs that gladden my heart. "Cream teas served here" is one of them, but the sign that really gets me going is "Open Gardens"...
There's nothing more delightful than whiling away an afternoon, being invited into someone else's garden. Of course, the garden is always on it's best's been manicured, pampered and prepared for the big moment.

 Garden tools are sharpened up, cleaned , and stored neatly, and the owners of the gardens look relaxed as they cheerfully welcome you into their gardens, even though you know that for some, their knees and backs are aching after hours of work getting the gardens into tip top shape.

Every year, I'm an avid fan of the yellow Book from the National Gardens Scheme which lists all the gardens open in aid of a number of charities, including Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie cancer care.
But I love it when villages open their gardens...and this weekend that's exactly what villagers nearby have done....

Saddington is a fairly small has a church, a pub and a sailing club but that's about it. It's a hilltop village though, with stunning views from one side of the village over the Saddington Reservoir......

But first, the welcoming committee as I parked my car.....

There were fourteen gardens open of the smallest, but cleverly planted was Rose Cottage....and as I walked through into the garden , there were wafts of the gloriously perfumed pink  Gertrude Jekyll rose on the air....I have to buy one!

I regularly drive through Saddington...I have friends living there too, but the beauty of  walking around  a village is that you get to see what 's hidden. And up a track I've never been before was  a beautiful thatched cottage

with a lovely large garden ...

Up another track was another large garden....with quite a few plant rarities and various features which caught my's one of them

There were also plants and crafts to buy...Anne Kottler who lives in the village sold her handmade cards and works of art....

And then across the other side of the village were the gardens with views of the reservoir....

Wouldn't you like a view like this?

The Old Rectory,  which is split into two houses, also looks over the reservoir .....but standing drinking in the view from the house on the left (which belongs to a friend), I turned around ....a lovely timeless country garden....

The weather yesterday was rather mercurial....breezy, one minute faint sunshine, the next dark clouds....especially when I was at Saddington Hall......but even the darkness can't hide the glorious wild meadow planted a couple of years ago....uniting the hall with the rolling countryside beyond

but with brand new landscaping at the side of the Hall....

All in all a great afternoon...for being inspired by what other gardeners have achieved, how they've utilised their space. An interesting afternoon eavesdropping on other visitors too. The knowledgeable ones....who insist on calling everything by their latin names and suggesting better partners for planting, the bitchy ones..."Tasteful? No, I don't think so..."

Some of the men being dragged around the village by their keen wives....."Look, you go off and look at a few others, I'll just nip to the pub for a pint"....and the majority, like me, who admired, who loved the genuine empathy between gardeners and who appreciated the generosity of others opening their gardens for a good cause.

But some visitors weren't interested by any of the above .....there were more important things to do....

If you live in Leicestershire, the gardens are open today until 5pm!

Today's track...Sean Hayes...and "garden"....I adore his voice


  1. LOVE the photos of the children on the swing - so sweet

    B x

    1. Thanks Becca....they were adorable to watch, in a world of their own...

  2. Lovely! You can't beat a bit of nosying around other people's gardens, can you :-)

    1. No you can't Ros....I just love Open Gardens!