19 May 2013

Ham Open Gardens 2013

Ham Open Gardens comes along every other year and is one of the highlights of the local social scene, especially if you like gardens and being nosey.

This year there were fewer major gardens than previously and also a double booking with a theatre meant that I had less time to go round them all. I decided just to do those on or around Ham Common and managed to see nine gardens in two hours.

Bench House in Ham Street was one of the new gardens and I went there first. The garden was a fairly typical walled garden with a lawn and borders around the edge. That was pretty enough but not as pretty as the wisteria on the side of the house.

Next door was Stokes House, which I had been to a few times before. It was still worth another visit because of the mix of borders, beds and hedges that divided up a large garden.

Forbes House on Ham Common was the one that I was most interested in as the house itself is a genuine mansion. Photography was forbidden and I took just the one picture before the rules were politely pointed out to me. Just in case I, or others, fancied breaking the rules there were a couple of burly men with earpieces patrolling the gardens.

The garden was formal with lots of typical ornaments such as the brick paths and the planters sitting on them, Elsewhere there was a pond with fountain, several shaded benches and a wealth of flowers.

Cassel Hospital is not in use at the moment and the future of the site must be in question with expensive housing being the obvious choice. This picture of just part of the garden gives some idea of how much space there is.

On the corner of Ham Common and Upper Ham Road was the small but very picturesque Gate House Garden that is maintained by the Ham Amenities Group. It is in a high profile corner and so many people see it as the walk, cycle or drive past.

The entrance to 19 Sudbrook Gardens was via Ham Gate Avenue, which confused me at first. This was another neat and tidy walled garden and a welcome addition to the Open Gardens circuit.

Stafford Cottages on the north side of Ham Common attracts much attention because it is highly visible because of the bright white walls and prominent position next to the New Inn. It is a very proud garden and shows all that it has to offer to any casual passer-by. And I often pass by just to see it.

The Gatehouse is one of a pair that marks the start of the avenue that leads in a straight line from Ham Common to Ham House. This was another garden that I seen before and wanted to see it again. It was a fairly simple garden made all the more interesting by the objects in it, objects like flower pots and this statue of an angel.

The final stop on this whirlwind tour was another new garden, Fortune House on the corner of New Road and Craig Road. With not much space to play with the owners had been very creative in building interesting spaces within the garden and filling them with colourful and unusual objects.

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