Welcome to the second of my series of three blogs this winter. This time we are not travelling as far as Hampshire but instead we are going to Harefield, to visit a really interesting project at ‘Church Gardens’. Again as in my last blog I will try and bring one or two comparisons in between the garden that I’m visiting and here at Reveley .
I went in May with a group of the Reveley Lodge garden volunteers. Each year we endeavour to visit at least one, if not two gardens, to spend a bit of time together, have some fun and find some inspiration.
Church Gardens is one of these places that has a huge amount of history, which often fascinates gardeners. Personally I think it excites us to be part of something bigger than ourselves. That sense of history, nature, creativity and perhaps stewardship coming together in one spot.
Kay and her husband have been renovating the gardens here for many years. Amazingly they both work full time elsewhere and yet have taken on this herculean project, and succeeded. This is not something for the faint hearted!
The team here at Reveley have been tackling our own renovation project, and I find it inspiring to hear from others who are that bit further along the road than yourself.
Before you enter into the old walled gardens, you have no idea of the scale of what is on the other side. You are greeted by a sea of carefully laid out raised beds, full of good stuff to look at, all of which are centred around a central water feature.
As you can imagine there is a large range of plants to see, Both ornamental and edible.
I very much enjoyed the marvellous bespoke fruit cage, which really adds to the garden. And quizzed Kay quite a bit about it. Interestingly we are planning to add to new fruit cages to the vegetable and cutting garden at Reveley. It is quite striking how something as simple as a fruit cage can really enrich the look a garden.
Gardeners often pinch ideas from each other, or shall we say, after seeing the use of the Cardoons at Church Gardens, I was emboldened to use Cardoons in one of the beds in Mulberry Beds at Reveley!
I am always intrigued when I find a garden that is able to balance the arty and the horticultural. Weaving colours and permanent art ideas into a garden is quite a skill. I loved the use of old church organ pipes Kay has managed to put into the garden. I haven’t quite mustered the courage (nor the money) to do something quite as bold at Reveley yet, but art is definitely something that we look forward to adding in the years ahead.
Just like ‘the Secret Garden’ at Reveley, Church Gardens has its own bee hives. But to see the bees you have to leave the walled garden and go off and explore. And Church Gardens has a lot more to offer than a walled garden.
It is a garden rich in history and I would certainly recommend one of Kay’s guided tours to find out more. So if you get the chance to go along and support the garden, you will enjoy seeing a garden having it’s Renaissance, I can heartily recommend it.