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A Village of Gardeners – part two, after the tea break.

We sat in the village hall enjoying our lemon drizzle cake and cups of tea, while we planned our route to see the afternoon gardens which, all but one, were out in the countryside, along narrow lanes.

So suitably refreshed and legs rested we made our way to the last of the gardens in the village itself, which was described as a small cottage garden. It didn’t disappoint!  After wandering up a narrow lush lane we crossed a ford where a shallow stream of crystal-clear water rushed over the tarmacadam. There were so many well-kept plants in busy planting schemes with narrow grass paths to lead you round. We loved it!

Once we had relished this lovely crowded cottage garden we returned through the ford and turned right where another narrow lane sent us up a gradual slope into the countryside away from the village, to the next garden. We passed this tumbling down barn the home to many swallows and colourful natural hedgerow borders.

This garden was larger than the last we visited, with sweeping areas of grass, an enclosed vegetable plot, interesting plant combinations and a beautiful wildlife area featuring a pond with woodland enhancing its banks.

Sadly the last two gardens we wished to visit were miles into the countryside at the foot of the Stretton Hills so we had to take the car. The first garden was one that invited you to wander with interesting  plantings.

The final garden was up a lane with grass growing down the centre and we had to park on a very soggy field. But it was worth it as a beautiful atmospheric garden sat alongside a rippling stream running through a wooded valley. The sound of bird activity around the feeding stations in an enclosed part of the garden and their song in the surrounding borders and woodland enticed us to sit comfortably with another cup of tea and another slice of home-baked cake.

We managed to visit just nine of the sixteen gardens open before we ran out of time. We enjoyed the variety of gardens created and maintained by a variety of gardeners. These gardeners all had the advantage of living in such a beautiful little village with a strong community spirit. The last garden we visited had the added benefit of an amazing view.

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A Village of Gardeners – part one, before the tea break.

A warm day seemed just what was needed when we visited the Shropshire village of Cardington just twenty minutes from home. We made this village garden pilgrimage last year as well and couldn’t wait to return, as we had been so impressed. This year there were extra gardens to enjoy too!

The first two gardens we visited were next door neighbours but oh so different. In the first garden there were few borders and much of the available space had been taken up by a huge stone built gym and swimming pool with decking around complete with hot tub. The formal fire pit area was interesting but I did wonder if it would have housed a nice pond.

Their neighbours however had wide expanses of well-maintained lawn with beds, both formal and informal cut into it. The garden looked a little dated but had a good pool area and some interesting sculpture and pots hidden in the borders.

Wandering through the village to the next garden we noticed interesting little cameos along the way. We were looking forward to the next garden as it was owned by one of our friends from the Shropshire Hardy Plant Society.

We weren’t to be disappointed. Her garden was one of interesting plants as one would expect, inspired little details and unusual places to sit, rest and enjoy the garden and the peace of the Shropshire countryside. (look out for the family of little plastic ducks!)

Once we had visited this selection of gardens we were ready for a return to the village hall where villagers had prepared teas, coffees and home-baked cakes. Part two follows after the tea break!