Monday, June 23, 2014

Petworth's Secret Gardens

I'm wondering if it's a sign that I've finally reached middle-age when my idea of a good afternoon is wandering round other people's gardens looking at plants! So be it.  It's been a gloriously warm and sunny weekend in London but halfway through Sunday morning we remembered that there was an open gardens afternoon in Petworth, Sussex, organised by the Red Cross to raise funds.  Off we went and arrived a little early, so just had to repair to the pub in the square to sit it out.  Anyway, you basically pay for your ticket, get your little map and off you go - like a grown-up treasure hunt.  You can walk the entire 'course' which takes in a wide variety of privately owned gardens, from grand sweeping lawns and terraces with views over the downs and the Shimmings Valley, to tiny courtyard gardens bursting with colour and innovative planting schemes that make the most of the space.  We got to wander down narrow alleys, peep behind old brick walls and discover lanes and higgledy piggledy houses and gardens that we never dreampt existed.  I took rather a lot of photos too, so here are some to whet your appetite.

{A Rectory, Almshouses and the old School House}

{Lots of the gardens had separate vegetable plots...I loved this one with the box hedging}

{The smell in almost all the gardens was intoxicatingly sweet from all the old-fashioned roses}

{A poppy bud just about to burst}

{These frothy peonies reminded me of paper pom-poms}

{Most of the gardens sported a water feature of some kind, or other decorative elements designed to please the eye}

{A wealth of beautiful plants}

{I loved seeing all the different seating areas/styles - all designed to maximise views or create a special place to be still}

{This beautiful old house boasted the largest tree I think I've seen in a long time}
It was a wonderful afternoon, so thank you to all the lovely people who shared their gorgeous gardens with us.  It's already in the diary for next year!

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