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Monday, 17 July 2017

An afternoon of open gardens in Lubenham

Yes, I love going to open garden events through out the summer.

Especially when the sun is shining. Even when it rains.

There's nothing like seeing other gardener's hard work or pinching some of their ideas. Sorry , I meant to write "gaining inspiration" there.

And there's nothing like paying a few pounds or so to have carte blanche to be as nosy as you like , seeing how others live their lives in their gardens.

So yes, last month I was eagerly off to Lubenham where there were over twenty gardens open in aid of All Saints, the village church.

I started off  by viewing the largest garden , just outside the village at Thorpe Lubenham Hall. This wasn't intentional, but a tractor had just pulled up on the village green , ready to take people up there.

 It was hot and as I was feeling downright lazy, I joined the others as the tractor chugged its way up the hill for about there quarters of a mile. The boys sitting opposite were loving their tractor ride, and so I was I especially when we had to duck out of the way of some branches in our way and the boys "oooohed "and "woohed"..

Thorpe Lubenham Hall is a gem of a house....Queen Anne style but built around 1800 and owned at different times by the Cunard family, Lord and Lady Kemsley and Sir Harold and Lady Zia Wernher. Apparently the Queen and her family were frequent visitors in the 1950's. Nowdays it is owned by Sir Bruce and Lady MacPhail who own the hall and fifteen acres of gardens.

 The ancient moat leads to the garden, where the terrace at the back of the house overlooks a large circular pond and fountain which is edged with lavender, alliums and  clipped yew.


There's a timeless quality to the gardens no fancy pants modern ideas ...just a quietly serene air
Mind you, I did like this gate at the side of the house, the grille made of horseshoes -so effective.

|I also appreciated this quiet spot, planted with pale pink roses and alliums Christophii

The other side of the brick wall pictured above is where the swimming pool now is, was this the former walled kitchen garden I wonder>

Teas were being served next to the pool undercover....and  amid the laughter, sounds of crockery clinking and shouts of "How many cream teas?" I had to leave suddenly as my eyes filled with tears.
Memories had come  flooding back of an open garden here which my friends and I helped at a number of years ago. There was a gang of us on a British Red Cross committee who used to bake and run open garden events throughout Leicestershire for a while to raise funds. Gill K, Jill P, Alanda, Kim, Lorna, Jackie, Lucy, Lucinda and I were on duty here at Thorpe Lubenham Hall , and as usual we'd had such a laugh...Jackie was in charge of the tea urns and Jill P as usual was the Queen in the counting house, counting all the money raised. Lovely Jill P died suddenly on the Friday before the Lubenham Open Gardens event.
So I declined the offer of the tractor ride back and took a solitary stroll  down the hill and stopped to watch the local cricket team playing a match alongside the lane.

The first open garden I came to was the Tower House, which was originally a Georgian farmhouse until it was enlarged as a hunting box back in 1865 . Stables, and a tower were added to watch the horse racing nearby.

I loved this tree with the leaves as big as dinner is supposed to fruit, but never has...and I've quite forgotten the name of the darned thing.

There was tea and cake at Adams Farm which was attracting a crowd,

but the bees and I were attracted to the border on the right of the garden 

The afternoon was marching on, so I'm afraid I had to whizz past a number of gardens, to this one on Mill Hill. A large garden with plenty of space to sit in the sunshine and admire the newly hatched chicks.

There were also fruit, flowers, a pond without fish, but with this rather gorgeous piece. I also had a chance to catch up with the garden's owner, Diana Cook, who had organised the whole event. How she found the time to run the event and get her own garden ready I just don't know.

A few doors away was a small cottage garden which was incredibly busy. Everyone was there to grab a bargain from Peter Shelton who restores old tools. There were rakes, dibbers, spades, forks, all lovingly refurbished and something which looked like an offensive weapon, but was a Victorian tool of some sort.

When I say Peter restores these, that's not his job, he was a biologist, but for a number of years now  he's spent hours and hours doing so to raise money for Lubenham Parish Church. He's good at it too...he's raised thousands on the tools alone.

What a lovely Sunday afternoon it was, even though there's so may gardens I missed. I didn't miss the Undle Project though which is a three and a half acre co operative small holding. Wow....a wonderful work in progress which I shall write about another time...

You've got to hand it to the villagers in Lubenham, it was a really good Open Gardens event, with gardens of all different sizes to inspire and interest everyone, and genuine friendliness towards all the visitors.
And yes, I will be making a return visit next year should too....


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  2. Fantastic pictures and glad to hear you enjoyed it. We hope you can come back next year to see some more Lubenham gardens and sample our excellent Cream Teas. The date is June 10th 2018

  3. My dear Nan and grandad Shutt were in service at the hall when Lord-and Lady Kemsley lived there. Have fantastic memories of all our Christmases there . Both grandad parents are buried in the village church. Will pay a visit one day xx

  4. Have very fond memories of the Hall, both my grandparents were in service there, when Lord and Lady Kemsley lived there, Nan Shutt was house keeper, grandad Shutt was their chauffeur. Both are buried in the village church, Would live to visit one day x