Locally there were loads of gardens open, 3 of which were in my NGS 'patch' and in an attempt to be a good NGS volunteer I Tweeted about them all, and then headed off to do the rounds.
First up was Choumert Square, which is the most amazing place. In essence the square (more a road) is like two rows of small terraced houses with small front gardens, maybe 3-5 meters long, but no road, just a central pathway. The whole place is gated so quite private, and as the houses are all so close and the gardens small it has fostered a great sense of community and everyone comes together to help out and do stuff.
In a way it was the opposite of the Dulwich gardens, which I did last, and which are big 'traditional' NGS gardens with amazing plants and planting. As Choumert is small it inst so much about the plants (which are still great) and they do a lot of extras such as the Pimms garden (mmm), back massage, plant sale cakes etc. My favourite was 'which celebrity has the same height as you' which meant that loads of people were wandering round with name badges saying who they were...so my friend was Audrey Hepburn, someone in the choir was Naomi Campbell, and I was, well I was Colonel Gaddafi!
Next up were the Dulwich gardens, one opening alone and two others together.
The one opening alone was so different to the others, designed by Christopher Bradley Hole and maintained by a very talented gardener. Sleek and inviting with a swimming pool backed by a pink wall and inviting sun loungers at the top
At the top was a large lawn with more 'wild' walkways either side of the hedges...my pictures do not do the planting or design justice!
The last two were a well oiled machine and I think had about 600 people visit over the afternoon. Big Dulwich house's with huge gardens backing onto the park making you forget you are in London. Fabulous plantings with long herbaceous borders and Delphiniums which could tempt me away from the tropics...