We visited two gardens this weekend and this is the other garden.  I wrote about Dial Park in my last post English County Garden – July.  This garden is right next door it is also cottagey but has a very different feel.  There are clearly defined garden rooms which are intimate, each with its own feel.  I have read that my breaking a garden up into small rooms it make the garden seem bigger as you cant see the whole thing in one go and you are encouraged to explore – but I’m not so certain.  I agree that seeing the whole garden doesnt encourage the visitor to explore but at the same time if the garden is well planted and full of interesting plants, surely the visitor will want to go and see what something is and is therefore drawn into the garden.  I thought this was definately the case in the main garden at Dial Park.

As I have said this garden, Tythe Barn, is divided into rooms.  We were told that part of this was due to the need to have wind breaks to reduce the wind coming off the surrounding fields.  The owner loves roses and this was very evident as they were everywhere although many had just gone over – we should have visited a couple of weeks ago really.  She prefers the cottagey roses, the ones with hips as opposed to the David Austin style which have a tendency to flop.  The roses are planted amongst the rest of the plants, which is a style I like and have adopted in my own garden.  I really dont like it when roses are corraled into one bed all on their own and even when they are underplanted with lavender they just dont look right to me. 

We were all particularly taken with this double geranium but the owner couldnt remember its name – I’m glad its not just me who has a memory like a sieve!!

The vegetable garden was in the tradition potager style, just like her neighbours.  With box edging surrounding a couple of productive squares of vegetables.  The owner is the lady I wrote about some months ago who uses plastic snakes to scare off rabbits and other rodents from her veg patch.  I’m glad that I had heard her talk as I think the 3ft snake lying amongst the cabbages would have thrown me for a moment!

Amongst the very traditional cottage garden planting there were some surprises such as this chocolately lily which was a new one on all of us.  I found it hard to beleive it wasnt plastic as it just didnt look real!


I found this visit particularly interesting as the owner is the regional co-ordinator for the National Garden Scheme so it was interesting to see what her garden was like.  She and her husband were charming hosts and very welcoming.  The garden was full of interesting groupings and hidden areas which made it a delight to explore. 

As ever having visited gardens I came home and looked at my own with fresh eyes.  I always feel more enthusiastic towards my own garden having looked at others – not because I think mine is better but because the other gardens have inspired me and given me a wealth of ideas.  It is also encouraging to hear other gardeners tell of the problems they have had to overcome.