Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Secret Gardens

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Have you ever wondered what is behind the rows of terraced houses that you might pass regularly? Have you ever wished that you could see into the back gardens? If only that was possible.
Well, this weekend, I had the opportunity to do just that.

I noticed there were posters on local lamp posts and fences advertising that for a fee of £3 it would be possible to visit a whole group of local back gardens. At the time I wasn't sure if that meant that I could view them all for £3 or that I'd have to pay the fee for each garden that I visited. However, my friend Audrey said that it might be worthwhile to view a couple of gardens and see how we got on, so we arranged to meet in a house very near to my home. In fact all the gardens were within walking distance We presented our entrance fee and were told we could now view all the gardens if we produced the ticket each time we moved on to another house.

For a start, after months of rain, the weather was suddenly sunny and dry. That in itself was a miracle and made viewing so much pleasanter for everyone involved. Some of the gardens could only be reached by going through the house, so imagine having all these visitors trampling wet through your home. The owners must have been very pleased that this was not going to happen.
I haven't enjoyed myself so much for a long time. Each garden was very different from any other. Some were extremely tiny like my own, while others were very long and had divided the space into many little sections, some with lawn and borders and some with patios and gravel. There were vegetable patches and wild patches with ponds. Some gardens had hens in runs and another had beehives everywhere. Each had a different look and character. Some were inviting us to sit in comfortable garden chairs and have tea and cakes while others only had standing room in their tiny patches of land, but there was always someone there to give advice and the owners seemed to be very grateful for positive feedback.
I was able to get some advice as to why I was struggling to grow white flowered Jasmine on my fence. The lady who was able to grow it well in her garden, suggested that I put rabbit or hen droppings over the roots to give it a good start. Well that would be easy enough to try in our home. I couldn't wait to get out there with my rabbit droppings and trowel.

I was able to visit about half a dozen homes but unfortunately, time ran out so I missed two of them. I can't wait to go to the next batch of gardens but I doubt very much that they will be in my area. It was, apparently organised by the Bristol Botanical Garden Trust and thats were all the profits went to.

I wonder if other readers have ever had the chance to look at secret gardens in your area?



18 comments:

mrsnesbitt said...

Wow! Loved the bit about tramping through the houses!!!! Nosy old soul that I am! lol!

Akelamalu said...

What a great idea, I love looking at other folks gardens. :)

Formerly known as Frau said...

How lovely......we have a garden club here that does tours once a year for a fee.

SueAnn Lommler said...

I too had a chance to look at secret gardens and it was so enchanting. So many different approaches to plantings! It was a blast to see them all!
I came away with some many ideas!
Glad you went too
Hugs
SueAnn

Suldog said...

Well, I'm glad my backyard has never been on a tour. Unless people wanted to see brown grass and weeds, they'd be very disappointed.

Jeni said...

I definitely would never consider a backyard (or front yard either) tour of my place and especially not if it involved people going through my house! I really will never have to worry about that though because my front flower beds are very sparse and totally unplanned and I have no posies, save dandelions, in my back yard. Of course, they could always gaze, starstruck, I suppose at my veggie garden but the idea of people going through my house -now that would really cause me to draw the line there as then I would have to be constantly doing housework to keep it all neat and tidy. A task that is virtually impossible what with these two kids, my daughter and myself living here and we're pretty much a pretty messy group, much of the time.

Retired English Teacher said...

I would have loved this adventure. Nothing would be better than spending the day touring English gardens. I bet it was so much fun. Lucky you! I'm glad the sun was shining for a bit too.

VioletSky said...

We have this where I live - several times. The biggest one is at the end of June and has about a hundred gardens all over the city to visit - each one on certain days/nights. That one is free, but most are for about 5-10 gardens and benefit some charity.
(have never gotten the chance to trample through the homes, though!)

ladyfi said...

That#s a great idea. They do that in Sweden too.

And thanks / I#m enjoying the rain!

FeltByRae said...

What a wonderful day... I love open garden days, it is great fun seeing what other people do with their gardens and also having a good old nose around!

family affairs said...

We have that around where we are - I've never actually got my act together to go though. Will do soon - my friends always rave about it. LX

Brian Miller said...

that is really cool...we have a parade of homes that sounds similar...you get to see all the homes the builders put up that year...and all the landscaping...they usually look amazing...secret gardens would be really cool...

Secret Agent Woman said...

What fun - I'd rather tour people's gardens than their homes, I think.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I think that's a lovely idea, Maggie. People could do this and raise money for their favourite charity. As you know, we don't have any neighbours as such but the nearest farm to us is owned by a good friend of ours who has the most beautiful garden. She holds garden parties in the summer as she has a large swimming pool also, and the kids go swimming. She doesn't charge though as far as I know.

CJ x

Rose said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed yourself, Maggie, and that you finally had a sunny day as well. I love garden walks like these; in fact, I've been to two local ones in the past month. Some of them are huge and look professionally landscaped (which my budget doesn't allow for!), but others are more "doable" and give me ideas I want to try to copy in my own garden. Sometimes you are really surprised at what is hidden behind a house--as you say, it's like discovering a secret garden.

Hilary said...

It's a great idea. A couple of homes on my street are part of some sort of garden tour.. though I believe it's just their front yards. I'm glad you had an enjoyable time.

Happy Frog and I said...

I know they offer a similar scheme in Reading but I always seem to miss it. I love nosing other peoples houses and gardens so I really should make more of an effort and your post has inspired me to do so.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

It is a charming idea and I think it is one that happens in our area too.