6 May 2011

Watergardens on Kingston Hill (May 2011)

There are several local gardens that I try to get to each year when they open as part of the National Gardens Scheme and the Watergardens on Kingston Hill is emphatically one of those.

The gardens begin at the top of the hill with a pond.

Here the calmness and stillness are emphasised by the trees and bushes that protect the pond from casual prying eyes.

Stone steps take you close to the water's edge at one point and in another a bench lets you rest and watch the ducks at play.

The trees and bushes that hide the pond also conceal the rest of the garden and walking along the path around the pond there is little clue of what is to come.

There are several paths that flow down the gentle hill and each has its own appeal.

One eases its way through tall shady trees passing a noisy waterfall as it does so.

Another follows the water and this is the most colourful. Walking down there is like taking part in a royal procession with hordes of cheering citizens greeting you on both sides.

Other paths take more difficult routes down and across the hill exploiting stepping stones to reveal hide-aways among the rocks. Further exploration uncovers statues, bridges and strange plants.

At the bottom of the hill the purpose of the garden becomes clear.

The water that comes down the hill along various routes all meets up in another pond that mirrors the one at the top of the hill.

Except the darkness and secrecy are replaced by openness and boastful decoration.

One approach is over a bright red Japanese style wooden bridge. Another is over a similar bridge but smaller and made of stone.

Commanding the pond, but discretely, are some cranes who keep perfectly still as they watch for fish.

The Watergardens are open twice a year (May and October) which means there is quite a wait between visits but we should be grateful to NGS that private gardens like this are open to the public at all.

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