Sunday, 9 June 2013

NGS Garden Visit - Washington Old Hall

What better to do with another fine weekend but partake in a spot of garden visiting? Even better is a garden that is free to enter, but had a NGS plant stall, and a very reasonably priced tea shop with a fabulous selection of cake. Just the job. The Intrepid baby, my sister, and I felt it was too good to resist.

Washington Old Hall is apparently the ancestral home of George Washington, the first president of the USA. Washington itself started out as a pretty small village from what I can tell, but has sprawled out into a fair sized town, which seems to have more traffic roundabouts than anywhere north of Milton Keynes. The gardens are always free to enter, but there is a National Trust entry charge for the house.

The gardens are lovely. Next to the house is a formal lawn area set on a terrace overlooking the rest of the garden. There wasn't a huge amount of planting up here with just a few bits of box, and some lavender, and a patch of what looked like hardy geraniums at the end. The area was very calm and relaxing, and one the biggest draws for me was the seating at the edge of the terrace where you sit and eat the afore mentioned cake, look at the garden and peoplewatch.

The next area down was a geometrically arranged set of box edged beds containing a mixture of edible and ornamental plants. They still had plenty of tulips going nicely as well as onions, alliums, chives, more geraniums, and a plethora of other stuff. Unfortunately I was mostly too occupied with chasing a scarily mobile Intrepid Baby around to take notes...

I need one of these benches...

The next area was more vegetable focused with a very nice sheltered seating area set in an orchard (I admit I'm rather assuming it was orchard. See baby based excuse above for why I didn't read any labels...)

Following on from here was a lovely ornamental bridge over a wet area with some fabulous irises, a bee keeping area, and a wildflower meadow.

On the way out we spotted a very impressive bit of box topiary in the form of some sort of knot. Very nice and I wish I had space to do something similar!


A fantastic couple of hours was had, some great cake was eaten and plenty of plants bought. The lady on the NGS stand said we were apparently the day's best customers. Better hope the wife doesn't read this...I'm so chuffed to find such a great garden so close to my house. We shall be back soon with a picnic basket.Did I mention that it was free?