Droxford Village Community
Upper Farringdon Gardens visit – Thursday 15 August 2019
A group of about twenty garden members had a most enjoyable visit to two adjoining gardens in Upper Farringdon. Berry Cottage and The Thatched Cottage open under the National Garden Scheme but we were lucky to have a private viewing of two beautiful and interesting gardens.
Phil, the owner of Berry Cottage, has lived there since she was 17 so the garden has been much loved for years. In addition to the multiple pretty floral borders, she grew vegetables but opted to grow them in beds with flowers and shrubs so they became ornamental yet tasty. The garden pond was teeming with wildlife and had flourishing waterIilies and Sagittarius. I particularly liked the inventive way she disguised her oil tank.
In contrast, Mr & Mrs Horton, the owners of The Thatched Cottage have been tending their patch for a mere 9 years however that did not detract from its beauty. Here we had raised beds for the veg patch and enormous tomatoes in the green house. Mr Horton informed us that his first foray into a kitchen garden entailed using straw bales with compost on top, which he said was messy and took some watering and that his current raised beds made sowing, weeding and harvesting so much easier.
I commented on the size of the huge onions in both gardens and was informed that it is due to a local competition. Each entrant gets six onion sets from the same source and uses their knowledge and skill to grow the heaviest onion. Weigh in is next week so good luck! Very much like our plugs for the Spring and Summer Shows but with onions. I have to say, I am inspired to try and grow giant onions but I might need to seek advice from John Martin as he has a track record in growing giant veg.
Longstock Water Gardens visit – Thursday 6 June 2019
The Club had its first garden visit of the summer season on Thursday 6 June when a group visited Longstock Water Gardens, which is part of the Leckford Estate owned by John Lewis & Partners.
We were met by the Head Gardener who gave us a brief history of the site and an insight into the work that goes into keeping the gardens in top class condition. The land was originally purchased by the Beddington family in the early 1900’s and a water gardens was established then. The estate was bought by John Spedan Lewis in 1942 and the water gardens were further developed into the size of today. On his death, Lewis left the estate to John Lewis Partnership (now John Lewis & Partners) on the understanding that the estate would be kept for the enjoyment of staff and maintained correctly.
As to be expected from water gardens, there were some stunning examples of hostas – mostly completely free from damage from slugs and snails, courtesy of good housekeeping practises. There was a wide range of very mature trees, flourishing due to a great water supply. There was a real feel of a Japanese garden with little bridges over the water, great use of reflections of plants and trees in the pools of water and bamboo, acers and other Japanese style planting.
A couple of hours of wandering the gardens was followed up by a refreshing ginger beer and a slice of cake in the café and a wander through the well-stocked nursery to avail ourselves of a reminder of a lovely early summer afternoon in the sun.