22 May 2016

Petersham Open Gardens 2016

Every year several local gardens open for charity and this alternates between Ham (odd years) and Petersham (even years). By this rule it was Petersham's turn again in 2016.

Petersham is quite a small area but within that area there is a large number of lodges and manors because of the proximity of the (former) hunting grounds of Richmond Park and grand houses tend to have grand gardens.

The organisation of Petersham Open Gardens was good and they allowed six hours (11am to 5pm) for people to look around the twelve gardens. I did not expect to take all of that as I had seen most of the gardens before, often several times, so I started my tour at 1pm and just managed to see all twelve  before they closed.

I've chosen just a few of my favourite photos I took that day to give a flavour of what was on offer and to explain why it took four hours to see everything.

Petersham Lodge is one of the grandest of the grand houses that opened their gardens. Normally I would show a picture of the large pond as that is the main feature of the garden so this time I have chosen to highlight another part of the large and varied garden.

This is a little enclave close to the house. It had been full of hedges and gravel on my previous visits and this time both had been refreshed. This mean that the garden was closed to visitors and we had to be happy with peeking into it. An advantage of that was that there were no other visitors in it to spoil the view.

Montrose House is another one of the grandest houses with a large and eclectic garden which included a pink and a blue elephant and other assorted animal sculptures. Again I, and others, have shown them many times so I have gone for a more traditional scheme.

There is a sheltered spot in the garden in a corner created by the house and a large garden room and this is where the large water feature resides. The water flows gently from the top level and then away from the plinth in a couple of narrow channels next to the flower beds. A lovely place to sit.

What I liked most about the garden in Harrington Lodge was the large brick patio running along the back of the house. Here it is enhanced by an old pot and some colourful flowers.

On a similar theme, bricks and flowers, I liked this low wall in Downlands. The rusted metal globe helped too.

Next to Downlands, but confusingly accessed via a different road, was Arreton Cottage which easily had the most interesting things in it of all the gardens. This selection is just an example of the varied things on display. The picture also shows the care with which the objects were arranged.

Elm Lodge was another large garden with several different areas, including pigs and chickens, and it was the water feature at the side of the house that I found the most attractive. This had three pools at three different levels and it is the top level that is featured here with its wonderful heron.

I love the stone ball too. This marks the gateway between the top two levels with the water slowly flowing up and left as we look at it. The other water was flowing lightly from the sky and was rippling the pools with raindrops.

The rain was not much of a deterrent and I carried on exploring Elm Lodge until the bewitching hour of 5pm when, after four hours of walking around gardens, I treated myself to a bus home. It had been a fantastic afternoon and a testament to the power of gardens and gardeners.

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