1 June 2014

Petersham Open Gardens 2014

There is some dispute locally as to what the boundaries of Ham and Petersham actually are and a lot of the time people play safe and call the place "Ham and Petersham".

One thing that is agreed is the Ham is centred around Ham Common and Petersham around the tight bend in the road to Richmond about a mile north of that. With two distinct centres Ham and Petersham are able to organise separate Open Garden days and they do this on alternate years.

In 2014 it was Petersham's turn.

There were fourteen gardens on show and I started off at 11am to give me as much time as possible to see them all. I knew from previous experience that several of them were quite large and also interesting and that they would take a long time to walk around. I also had to allow time for tea and cake breaks.

The first place I went to was Montrose House, once the home of Tommy Steele and more recently noticed making guest appearances in shows like New Tricks and Spooks. Last time I was there I shared a picture of the pink elephant to the blue one gets its chance this time.

The Glasshouse is one of my favourite buildings and gardens locally and despite visiting it several times it still excites me when I go there. It was also one of the more popular gardens and so it was impossible to take any pictures without other people in them. At least I managed to take this one with only a few in and they are all subtly dressed.

Petersham Lodge, also in River Lane, which I also go to regularly, was as grand as ever. The lake is large but still does not dominate the garden, indeed it is almost hidden from the house. This is the view looking across the bottom of it.

The fourteen gardens were all very different and while the largest and grandest got the most attention there were lots of things to appreciate in all the other gardens too.

I could have selected at least one decent (my view) picture from each one but that would have made this post too long and I imposed a limit of just ten photos on myself.

This lion, one of several on show, lived in Rosebank which has the additional pleasure of not being on a road, instead it is approached by a narrow footpath that runs from River Lane past the nurseries and on to Richmond.

The path also leads to the church which I enjoyed looking around for the first time in eighteen years of living here. But the church is not a garden and this post is about gardens.

The nurseries was not really part of the Open Gardens but I had to go through it to get to one that was and I took this photo as I went through.

The door from the nurseries took me to Petersham House. I always feel that this garden needs to do a little more with the lawn area but from the right location and the right angle the borders, wall, hedges and trees combine attractively.

There was also a large vegetable garden with a large hen-house. Again it is the combination that I like, this time of the grey roof and red flowers.

Twyntre is another regular and another favourite. It helps that it is a Huf Haus.

The garden matched the sleek modern style of the house as the pond next to the entrance show. I also loved the statue next to the wall.

The mix of gardens was the main attraction and I liked it that there were a couple of modern gardens belonging to modern houses as well as the traditional gardens belonging to the traditional houses.

This part of Petersham is a Conservation Area so there are a lot of traditional houses, many of them having started life as grand hunting lodges for Richmond Park. One of these was next door to Twyntre.

Even the name Cecil House tells you that this is a place that is comfortable with tradition. The garden boasted a little woodland area with a secret path through it. One end of the path was by the main gate and the other by this pond that neatly bridged the gap between the lawn and the woods.

It was time for another tea then and something of a rest after some three hours of garden exploration and with a couple more to come.

There was another clutch of gardens to see around Sudbrook Lane. These tended to be more modest and because of their age, shape and location, more similar. And that is my excuse for not being sure which garden this one is.

It was sometime after 4pm, five hours after I started, that I finally finished the fourteenth garden and made my weary way home. It had been a great day.

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