There is nothing quite like a stroll through an English country garden on a summery afternoon to soothe the soul and at the same time fire up the senses. The smells, sights and sounds in a lovingly tended garden can be an intoxicating mix, which invariably leaves me inspired to create a similar oasis in my own garden.
This has happened on many occasions. I dream of an elegant space, a white garden perhaps, filled with perfectly pruned shrubbery, green (as opposed to withered and brown), weed-free grass and a shady spot to lounge with a glass of something cooled, when it’s too warm to do anything else.
Inspiration is one thing; alas, putting that inspiration to good use is something else entirely. Our garden lurches between looking relatively neat and tidy (but never an oasis exactly) in the spring, when the soil is loose and easy to weed, to looking decidedly forlorn as the dry summer weather makes the soil compact and too hard for a fair-weather gardener like me to want to tackle.
The open garden season in June comes at a good time then, when my motivation is starting to flag. A wander around some of the gorgeous gardens that people generously open up to a curious public, is enough to spark a new round of green-fingered eagerness which, with any luck, will last until the autumn. Follow this with a few months’ rest and a renewed enthusiasm in the spring, and the cycle starts all over again….
Keep an eye on the National Garden Scheme (NGS) website to find some open gardens near you. NGS is a charity, which raises around £50 million per year for The Queen’s Nursing Institute, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Carers Trust, Hospice UK, Perennial and Parkinson’s UK among others.
Sadly, none of the gardens pictured here belong to us. The top four images are part of the Hidden Gardens event in medieval Lavenham and the bottom image is part of the Chelsworth Open Gardens event – both in Suffolk and both highly recommended.