16 June 2013

Unmissable garden at Ormeley Lodge

The National Garden Scheme gets me in to several local gardens and the best of the bunch of those in walking distance is Ormeley Lodge.

The house sits proudly on Ham Gate Avenue, the road that runs from Ham Common to Richmond Park's Ham Gate.

It is the Goldsmith's family home and local MP Zac Goldsmith is sometimes there to mingle with his electorate. He does not live in the house any more but his mother still does.

The garden has a large formal square lawn at the back of the house with thick borders stuffed with flowers on three side. It is separated from the rest of the garden by high and impressively trimmed hedges. These hedges are a strong theme in the garden and there are several of the dividing the garden in to sections and providing shady corridors between them.

My favourite part of the garden is at the back beyond the hedge in the picture above. This was an orchard and it still retains some of the apple trees. It is what is between these trees that I live the most.

The grasses are allowed to grow as tall as they like and they are peppered with meadow flowers like daisies and poppies.

Broad curving paths have been cut through the wilderness so I was able to get up close to the flowers and to delight in just walking aimlessly through them.

The trees are now alone in the wilderness and in one corner lurks a very patient and very still rhinoceros.

The hedge-lined corridors make exploring the garden a lot of fun and there is still a sense of mystery when going round for a second time with some knowledge of what lies ahead.

Some of the paths lead nowhere other than to brash white seats that demand that you sit on them a while and look back in to the garden.

There are seats and vantage points everywhere, this is a garden to savour at leisure.

One of the quieter paths runs behind one of the borders around the main lawn with one of the ubiquitous hedges on the other side. Looking over and through the border gives a fresh and interesting perspective on the main lawn.

I have mentioned the flower beds around the main lawn a few times and now it is time for a closer look at them. The planting is carefully planned to not look carefully planned and produces a lovely jumble of shapes, colours and heights.

In the middle of the picture is the door to the wilderness guarded by two lions, one of which is hidden. These lions are companions to the small group of lions next to the house, kinsmen to the rhinoceros and gorillas hiding in the garden and relatives to the budgies and canaries in the garden's two aviaries.

There is also a side garden now arranged for children to play in with a pet's cemetery in a shady corner and a neatly clipped box hedge. And on the other side there is a swimming pool and a tennis court. All of this goes to show that the garden is still lived in and used.

There is so much to see in Ormeley Lodge that even having gone there a few times I am still sure to go again.

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