By the time you read these words, I’ll be gone. I might add, “to a higher place,” but that wouldn’t sit very well with those who consider American gardens to be the best in the world.
I don’t necessarily think of any country’s gardens as ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than those of any other, but it has to be said, the call of an English garden is strong and has been for many centuries. I hope I can be forgiven for being just a little idolatrous.
So, off I go, after an eight-year absence to visit friends and family, and subject each and every one of them to one of the great gardens of Great Britain. I have a very strong feeling that they are not looking forward to it quite as much as I am.
My nieces and nephews will be visiting Great Dixter and Sissinghurst with me, and were they not the edible, perfectly behaved children that they are, this sentence would read like a horror novel.
A old work colleague (she is not old, but our association is) will be marched through Beth Chatto’s garden, and if she doesn’t flag, the gardens at Bressingham.
A university friend in Cornwall with an interest in architecture has been tasked with the assignment of finding us a nearby garden/stately home to tour (in exchange for marching him around Wildside and The Eden Project), and my sister doesn’t know it yet, but one of those days in London will be spent at Kew.
If she’s very lucky I may buy her a trip down the river to Hampton Court Palace, but only if she’s very, very lucky. Judging from the way she’s been hedging on the phone, I may have to do Wisley on my own.
There is a point to all this ridiculous name dropping. I’m visiting a lot of gardens, and I want to get the most out of those visits. But I, like many other fanatical gardeners before me, will be visiting them with other people, slightly-to-severely less fanatical.
Creating a balance can be challenging. I know – I have to do it all the time for the people I live with. So here are a few things to consider as you take your tired [of gardens], your poor [of knowledge], your yearning to be free [of you] to visit a great garden this fall…