“What is a mini-group?” I hear you asking. Well they are area groups within the Shropshire branch of the Hardy Plant Society. We live just south of Shrewsbury so fit into the Shrewsbury Mini-Group but we could equally belong to the South Shropshire group. Perhaps we ought to select the most interesting sounding visits planned by both groups and have extra gardens to visit.
Last month our little group visited two of our member’s gardens plus a garden of a neighbouring house. They were all in the little village of Ruyton-XI-Towns. It is a village we have driven through but never stopped in and once parked up we wandered down looking for Jill’s garden, our first stop for the day. In fact we were parked only a few metres from there. We passed through the front garden which was small but packed with plants with lots of colour and texture and then around the side of the house where again every possible place for a plant had plants in it. Pots and interesting containers were everywhere we looked.
As we reached the end of the house the view that met us stopped us in our tracks. This was going to be a real treat! The garden was full of colour and had strong design elements, with paths that invited exploration, arches and frames to encourage you to go through them and pieces of sculpture and interesting natural objects to stop the eye.
Jill is a gardener who can put plants together beautifully taking leaf texture and shape into consideration alongside flower colour. When we looked in more detail at the planting we discovered a few special plants, ones we couldn’t recognise and a few of those that you have to dig deep into the recesses of your memory to recall their names.
From Jill’s garden we all wandered down the village street to a neighbour who had a garden that was best described as long, thin and wriggling, never more than a couple of metres wide and often only wide enough for a plant fringed path. Despite of this the gardener had packed in dozens of fragrant roses and clematis clambering up any surface or tall plant. This will be the subject of my next post where we will also enjoy the third garden we visited that day, where we ended the day with tea on the lawn. How civilised is that?!