Feasting on a Frenzy of Friends’ Flowers


We had our first visit to a friend’s garden yesterday (thanks Friends, for tea and cake too!), having been put off until this time of year when the rhododendrons and azaleas would be in flower, and it was easy to see why. The garden was awash with the beauties, accompanied by an equally large troupe of camellias mostly past their best but not the exquisite ‘formal double’ example shown above. Even the more garish orange and yellow azaleas were toned down by the adjacent brilliantly cut acer and the space around them, the garden extending to about an acre in total.

Friend had never given any indication of the size of the plot, the only clue being an emailed picture of snowdrops adjacent to the drive, from which I suspected it was going to be an older property on a sizeable plot, which is exactly what it was. It has early Victorian origins but the best bit is that it was the house Friend grew up in, his father having bought it in the 1950s and developed the garden from an overgrown wilderness – so much of the established planting is 50 years old. Having become responsible for the house and garden only 5 years ago Friend admits to coming to gardening late, and is keen to expand his knowledge – and extend the season of the garden beyond this time of year, after which it reverts to ‘green’.  What would I do if it was mine, I was inevitably asked? The only definite would be just that – extend the season with herbaceous perennials and utilise neglected shady areas with trouble-free shade lovers.

Did I suffer from garden envy? No, because my heart and soul are in my garden here at home, and I guess Friend’s roots are equally deep and he will never live anywhere else, trusting the plot will always remain in the family. I don’t know what will happen to our plot when the Golfer and I have shuffled off, but our ashes will be strewn in the garden so there will always be at least part of us here.

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13 Responses to Feasting on a Frenzy of Friends’ Flowers

  1. Annette says:

    Cream tea in the garden of a friend nearby this afternoon – looking forward to it, sun’s out and it’s always great to see other people’s mirrors of their soul (unless it’s a blank one 😉 ) Have a good weekend, Cathy.

  2. Pauline says:

    What a lovely garden your friend has, reminds me of lots of gardens in Devon and Cornwall that concentrate on springtime. I’m sure you will be able to guide him in the right direction for shady plants for the rest of the year! Tea and cake too, you were spoilt!

  3. Cathy I’m still smiling at your comment on my blog that your friends garden is different to mine because he has a large area of mown grass, he also has some beautiful shrubs, not too mention a 40-50 year head start, lol
    it sounds as if there is a good structure of shrubs and lots of potential to add his preferences/personality to the garden, Frances

  4. Hannah says:

    It’s nice to see other people’s gardens, even if you do always compare it a little to yours. I’m glad you didn’t suffer from garden envy, I did just from looking at the pics!

  5. Anna says:

    It’s always special for both parties when you visit a friend’s garden Cathy. Useful for the garden owner to see it through another pair of eyes and for the visitor to absorb new ideas and perhaps leave with a living memento of that garden. I like the idea of having one’s ashes scattered in the garden but don’t think that I’ve found the perfect resting spot yet 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Oh, so you sense that this is not your final house/garden, Anna? I wonder if this is why our souls are so entrenched here as we have no doubts about staying here for ever, however long that is. It’s a good feeling

  6. A walk through any garden, a moment to sit and drink tea and enjoy the moment; you are describing heaven.

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