The NGS season is now firmly underway and last weekend I was lucky to remember than Lambeth Palace had its annual opening. I was really excited to go as it is one of those places which everyone knows about, but people rarely visit mainly as it’s not really open! It has been there, and the garden has been continuously cultivated since the 12th Century, with buildings dating from the 1400’s although the main building is 1800’s.
It is the second largest private garden in London (after Buckingham Palace) and covers about 13 acres including a large lawn, pond, bee hives, Lime and hornbeam walks, meadows, fountains and the biggest tea and cake area I have seen at an NGS event.
|Lovely garden, but they have terrible trouble with the neighbours...|
It is certainly worth a visit, if only for a nosy round, however I was deeply disappointed that the archbish wasn’t taking money on the door, or serving the cake.
Sheds and summerhouses (or the visitor centre as Laurence/Richards now calls it) has been the main focus of labour and time. We bought a 10x10 summerhouse (for gin drinking) along with a 6x8 shed (for storage and to be the bee-club house). The shed went up easily (well this is mainly as Stevens Dad came and did it) however who would believe a base would be so complicated!
|Bases are so much more complicated than you think....good job we got the hired help in|
So it has all gone up, all be it with some scratching of heads, then more scratching of heads, and we do still have some spare bits/finishing touches to do (we had to stop as otherwise we would have needed the divorce lawyers.
|you can just make out the bees, an immense crowd of them hanging like a giant bunch of grapes....|
We have also been to visit a great small NGS garden in Peckham, which has got me thinking about others I have seen which have been a bit mixed. I’m a big fan of small gardens, and feel that having more open through NGS is good as it helps show others what can be achieved in a small space.
We saw a lovely small garden on Holly Grove in Peckham.... It had a clean design with gabions filled with rock demarking well planted thick deep beds.... Although narrow beds are a knee jerk reaction for small spaces, having a deep bed avoids it looking like you have a row of plants in a line, and can be more effective and screen you well. There was also a great rectangular pond, good levels and entertaining space...oh and lovely cake.
|Im always a sucker for a well designed pond with a nice showing of Dutchmans breeches|
|Gabions with a nice high bed backing onto what is the arch/platform of Peckham Rye station!|
Paying to see a garden open for the NGS that turns out to be disapointing or have nothing particularly interesting or inspiring to see would certainly put me off from going to another and would not give the impression of an organisation which has rigorous assessments in order to be listed. Something for NGS to think about I would suggest. What do you think readers?