14 June 2012

Garden at Stokes House in Ham

The National Gardens Scheme (NGS) continues to provide interesting weekend diversions that I am very pleased to take advantage of, especially when they are as close to home as this one.

Stokes House is a short walk down Ham Street, that's the road that leads from Ham Common to the river.

The house is one of a pair. It's is joined to its non-identical twin Bench House with which it shares a front and dividing wall and a predominantly white visage.

Where they differ is in their shape and the colours that they use to decorate their doors and windows.

The dividing wall provides a bold backdrop for part of the garden allowing the shapes and colours of the bushes to be displayed proudly.

This is also the more formal part of the garden which is nicely zoned by a hedge across the bottom and a sturdy wooden pergola along one side.

Hiding behind the hedge are some vegetables, a compost heap and some other untidy but perfectly natural garden objects.

It feels as though the shed and greenhouse belong here too and so it is a little surprising to find them in the main part of the garden though they are fairly well screened by plants.

The shed looks perfectly at home in its corner surrounded by a chaotic collection of flowers, bushes and trees through which a few paving stones weave an uneven path.

Elsewhere in the garden there are traditional flower borders, trim hedges, a shady patio and a child's swing.

I'll ignore all those and return to the chaotic corner to savour the mix of colours and shapes to be found there - pointed red leaves vie for attention with round yellow flowers.

It is only a small garden so it does not take that long to explore, though the stay is extended through the simple provision of tea and cake that not only refreshes but also adds to the charity's coffers.

The NGS is a wonderfully English way of spending a typically English weekend.

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