Last weekend I was struck down by a severe bout of garden envy, a perplexing condition of conflicting symptoms that leaves the afflicted feeling both deflated and inspired in equal measure.
In fact, I spent two gloriously sunny afternoons ambling around the back gardens of Kinver, a rural village in the West Midlands, with friends who share my enthusiasm for all things green and a healthy dose of Latin plant name dropping.
For this year’s Kinver Open Gardens event, eight brave households opened up their beds and borders to public scrutiny to raise funds for Compton Care, welcoming friends and strangers alike to stroll across their lawns and steal their ingenious ideas. Here’s what I learned from the gardeners of Kinver.
by Mary and John Tromans
You can cram a wide variety of plants into a small space if you keep chopping it all back.
by Rosemary Pope and Peter Roberts
Just because a garden is rectangular it doesn’t have to look rectangular.
by Louise and Derek Beddow
A garden can be functional as well as beautiful.
by Rachael and David Baker
A lot of toil and effort reaps its rewards, but a touch of quirky creativity can create something magical.
by Jim and Chrissy Monk
You can’t have too much colour!
by Jane and David Bills
Choose plants that will provide interest throughout the year.
by Carol Westwood
Water features are a superb way to create an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.
by Ingrid Caras-Altas
In a large garden, divide up the space to create a journey through different areas with different functions.
Having viewed all eight of these very different gardens, I was buzzing with ideas, and by the time I got home I was ready to re-evaluate my entire garden scheme.
Thank you Kinver gardeners for the impetus I needed to see my own garden through fresh eyes – and for lots of ideas that I can put into action.
Visit a garden
If you are looking for inspiration, then I highly recommend you visit an English country garden. Go to the National Garden Scheme’s ‘Find a Garden’ page and plug in your postcode. There are plenty of private gardens opening their doors to the public to raise money for nursing charities.
I’d love to hear about the gardens you visit, so please do report back in the Comments section below with your recommendations.