It may be surprising just how many places you can visit in a couple of days – although perhaps not to us as we are past masters of this, preferring short breaks as we do. Never more than about 40 miles from home as that busy crow flies, we circumnavigated the West Midlands in an anticlockwise direction although our visiting was all on the west side, mostly in Worcestershire. Synchronising an itinerary is the hardest part, particularly visiting during the week, and several possibilities had to be crossed off the provisional list as they were not open on Mondays or Tuesday. Replacements were found from a source I hadn’t considered before – gardens open for the NGS but also to the general public at other times, often daily. This gave me gardens I had not even heard of before and I would thoroughly recommend looking at that section in the Yellow Book for garden visiting inspiration.
As the main purpose of the jaunt was to visit fellow bloggers it was even more important that we could conveniently synchronise these, and I am happy to say that it all conveniently fell into place like a well-cut jigsaw and we were able to meet Ali from The Long Garden Path, Helen the Patient Gardener and Brian of OurGarden19 and some of their families. What a delight each making acquaintance was – such a joy to meet bloggers in person for the first time and also to see the gardens I have read so much about. We were made so welcome by everyone and it was as if we had known each other for years (which on our blogs we have); each time it was a shame to say goodbye and continue on our journey, but it had to be done. Thanks to all of you! Here we have photographic proof of our visits to Ali, Helen and Brian:
Where did we go in between these visits? Well, firstly, we called at Whitlenge Gardens near Kidderminster, a 3 acre show garden of a professional garden designer with numerous water features and a range of other ideas for gardens, probably not all to everyone’s taste:
The Picton Garden, home to the National Collection of Michaelmas Daisies, is on Helen’s doorstep and she has shown it a number of times on her blog – it was a happy coincidence that we were visiting just as they were coming into flowers. Winding paths took you between and amongst not just the asters themselves other borders and beds which would undoubtedly provide different interests throughout the year.
Tuesday brought a change of plan, with a visit to Riverside Gardens at Webbs of Wychbold. I wonder how many people shun this extensive garden centre and its associated ‘shopping experiences’ to visit the gardens which are free to wander in and out of at will? It was delightful to do so, with its various themed gardens and colour spectrum planting, grassery and ‘bamboozelum’ and the recent New Wave gardens designed by Noel Kingsbury. These are gardens for all the family and children would love the opportunity to play and hide from each other here, as they are invited to do.
Foregoing the opportunity to visit a National Trust property that we were passing, we chose instead to visit the Red House Farm Garden. This was another find from the Yellow Book, as all the gardens except Picton were, and it is a real gem, if you like informal and non-manicured gardens. Created as a peaceful haven from its working farm environment, the half acre garden is densely planted with a range of winding paths and many of the interesting range of plants are available in the adjacent nursery at very reasonable prices (the only place I bought any plants, it still being 2015…). Talking to the owner’s daughter, we learned that she is currently unwell but itching to get outside and do what she wants to do – as all of us gardeners would. Indicating just how much garden lovers like to share their gardens, this one was also free to visit (except on NGS days).
Whew! A busy couple of days, and catching up on other things at home is now largely keeping me from my garden too, but I am hopeful of being able to crack on by the weekend. It is always good to discover new gardens to visit, especially not far from home, so combined with the blogger assignations it was indeed a most pleasurable short jaunt. The post title with its 3 Bs, as I am sure you are wondering, refers to the bloggers we met up with (self explanatory), one of the range of pests we heard about in the gardens we visited (also moles and pheasants – and the less active shady trees) and the symbolic Worcester Black Pear which is probably the oldest English pear still in use and can be traced back to the early 16th century. So now you know!