Woohoo, blogging 2 days in a row, will I manage to keep it up though?
On Sunday Martin had to work straight after his golf so I persuaded Mum and Dad that they did want to go to St Nicolas at Wade where the residents were opening their gardens in order to raise money for their church. The weather was a bit miserable so Dad wasnt all that keen but Mum was eager to get out of the house as a falling out with the next door neighbour was causing a bit of tension.
There were 18 open gardens in the village, we managed to miss both parking areas despite following the signs to the letter so pulled up in front of garden 16. There was a one off payment of £3 to visit all of the gardens and we thought it was a real bargin since the first one we walked round was so beautiful.
The guy who owned the place was really friendly, and after we had tramped all over his plot, admired his bridge and 'moat' (really a long narrow pond, fully stocked and with a proper plank bridge across the middle) told us the best way to see the rest of the gardens was to walk the short circular route around the nearer ones and then move the car to the other end of the village to see the rest.
Despite being grey and overcast it wasnt cold so we left our coats in the car and walked to the next garden. This one was much smaller but the lady was obviously a plantsperson and knowledgably chatted to us, giving me the names of the plants I had recently admired in Yalding garden (Allium Christophii).
The next garden was close and although it didnt have much in the way of planting, had some impressive trees used imaginatively to create breaks in the lawn area. We spent a great deal of time in the stunning garden of the lady in the ex council house. It had been a labour of love for three years but had an unbelievable amount of flowers in it, and most of them in bloom too.
So a great start and although it had by now started to spit with rain, we were having a great time, so started off for the last two gardens on this part of the circit. Of course they were way further than it appeared they were on the map, so after quite a slog to get to them we were rather dissappointed that the next garden had little more than gravel with a small flower border around it, and most of the garden given over to a shed where an elderly lady was to all intent and purpose holding a garage sale.
The next garden totally made up for it though. These last two gardens were those of semi-detached chalet houses, and the contrast between what was extensively identical plots was amazing. Where one had been virtually barren, the second was stuffed full of both flowers and vegs, a riot of cottage gardenness. It was also a bit like a maze in the way the garden had been broken up into a series of little gardens by large plants and hedges. But the biggest surprise came at the end of the garden where an old gun armoury had been converted into an underground eating area.
We still had to find our way back to the car. From the map it looked like we were just half way round so we had the choice of going back the way we had come or continuing round. We decided to continue round, and set off. No sooner had we done so then the rain started to come down a bit more in ernest, it also turned out to be a tad further than we thought, in fact for two old age pensioners and their totally unfit daughter it was quite a trek.
By the time we finally got back to the car we were rather damp, very cold as the wind had got up, and in need of a comfort break.
The church advertised facilities so we moved the car up the village, and went into the church. Once we were warm and more comfortable we treated ourselves to a cuppa before planning our route to see some more gardens.
It would seem that we had seen the best of the bunch though, as some of the next 4 gardens were either not gardens at all (one was a front room emptied of furniture but hung with a few local artists paintings mostly of a Picasso nature, and art by the local Y2 school children), or were little more than a large bit of parkland type garden set to grass,
a few hedges and an unfenced swimming pool.
It was now raining very hard,
we were cold, and wet despite getting our coats out the car for the second half of our tour, so we decided mum would sit in the car while dad and I took in one last garden, and then we would call it a day.
The final garden we visited was huge and wrapped round an extremly large and expensive looking house - the front drive was bigger than my house and garden put together. There wasnt actually much to see in the garden as a portion was set aside with tables for cream teas (we were accosted three times asking us if we wanted one) and the rest of the huge area contained a full sized tennis court, a swimming pool (fenced this time) 3 trampolines, a climbing frame and a table tennis table. Dad and I had a bit of a game in the pouring rain, but neither of us was much good, so we called it a day and went home to the warm and dry.
It was a shame about the weather but we still had a laugh, enjoyed most of the gardens and had a really good day. Thank you residents of St Nicks!