Blewbury is a stone’s throw from where we live in Didcot, and is one of our regular jaunts, not least because one of my best friends and her husband live there with their two cats who we feed when they are on holiday. It is one of those chocolate box villages whose streets are lined with beautiful old houses, each with their own unique charm. The Grade 1 listed Norman church is at the heart, and provides cheap tea and delicious cakes every Saturday afternoon throughout the summer.
We’re very nosy people and Nathan (who is 6ft 2) can often shamelessly cranes his neck over hedges whilst I peep through window panes. When we heard there was going to be a day in June where you could stroll into someone’s garden without the police being summoned/ the dog attacking you, we couldn’t believe our luck.
There were 5 gardens in total to view for the reasonable sum of £5 (all donated to the Royal Horticultural Society) – a 1960s bungalow (really!), three cottage gardens and the Manor House. We have often gazed longingly through the large gates to the manor, trying to catch a glimpse of what lies beyond without any real success, so this in particular appealed to us. We were not disappointed by any of them. The owners of the Bungalow had been surprisingly clever with the relatively small amount of space they had, using walls to segment off sections of the garden and creating as much height as possible with their planting. The Manor house was suitably grand with sculpted hedges at every turn, had rose gardens to die for, a theatre, and a set of organised compost heaps which were enough to turn any of us with a green fingered inclination that same colour with envy. What was particularly interesting about this garden was how it was all centered round water – various water features, ponds, bridges and even a small lake. We spotted a duck with her ducklings enjoying this aspect, although I couldn’t help think you would have to watch children like a hawk and this would be quite problematic for a lot of people.
My favourites by far were the cottage gardens, which were much less formal, and saw cascades of colour and which were oh-so-cleverly made to look random but of course drew the eye in the exact intended way of its owner. I felt right at home and took many a mental note for my own future plans (far off as they may be) for the perfect cottage garden.