I await the moment that someone creates pictures with smell-o-vision, because walking around this old walled garden was a cacophony of scent, sound and colour. From the moss roses to the proliferation of philadelphus (mock orange, to you and me), the heady smell of flowers on the breeze was everywhere, captured by the very old brick walls that encase this south-facing idyll. To me, this walled garden (if it wasn’t quite as well-known-about) is as close as I can get to the garden I read about as a child in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Secret Garden. It is full of hidden areas and quiet spots that one can sequester onesself away in and read a book, or doze, or simply take in the scenery.
I am always reassured by coming here, to this place that Mr VP and I have visited hundreds of times, because with the exception of new planting schemes in some of the annual beds and the odd new addition, it stays the same, year after year. Even after some four years of absence, it is still reassuringly the same and unchanging. In winter, we walk around in thick coats and wellies, taking a flask of coffee and some cake to eat in our favourite seat that overlooks the pond. In summer we swelter under the sun, admiring the colour and the smell. In spring I fall in love with the blossom all over again. And in autumn I see the hydrangea leaves and swoon at their glossy red colour. I love it here, when it’s quiet, before the hoards of tourists come. I like it to myself. I like to be alone with the day and the busy-ness of the garden and my love.
When I visit somewhere like this, I always come home with lots of inspiration for plants that I would like in our own garden. So far, my notepad is full of plants I would love to include in our garden: variegated weigela, acer purpureum, moss roses, astrantias, cranesbills (the double blue one above!), lavenders, a smoke bush (Cotinus), a cherry tree, a Paulownia tree (I’m going to give it a go from seed!) to name but a few.
Now that summer is properly here and is beginning to get hot, too hot to be outdoors in, my thoughts have turned to the ever-so-slightly earlier nights that we have now (but summer is the briefest of flings). It is hard to escape the fact that within a month, summer will be coming to a close and we will begin to notice the cooler evenings and that autumn smell on the air. This year, however, I won’t complain that we’ve not had enough time to enjoy it all, because it has been a majestic summer. Though I do not want to wish time away, I must admit I am a wee bit excited to get back into jumpers, cardigans and long boots again (oh my!). Until then, you can find me occasionally revelling in that garden and making the most of the summer.