Winster’s annual Secret Gardens treat is so nearly here – tomorrow, July 14th and Sunday July 15th (2018) 1.30-5.30.
You may well have driven through the village, noted a huddle of mostly very elegant stone houses, without any suggestion of any gardens apart from the odd window basket.
But tucked away, behind and alongside, and entirely hidden from view there are actually some very beautiful gardens which you will never be able to see unless you come to the annual Secret Gardens.
When you do, you’ll be given a map which will guide your way along a myriad little paths, or ‘ginnells’ which connect the houses and their gardens – obviously all that was necessary in the centuries before the motor car.
I walk along some of these little lanes most days. For the past week there has been a background symphony of scraping and hoeing, trimming and mowing, cheery greetings. And it’s been hot. We’ve all worried about the more tender plants, and the lawns have turned brown. No rain for several weeks and we had all begun to secretly wish for a gentle downfall to freshen things up.
What we didn’t want or even suspect was a real downpour last night. Our Annabelle Hydrangeas which are real joy with their striking greeny-white pompoms at least 20cm across have been almost pummelled to the ground. John has done his best this morning to tie them up but sadly they have lost some of their immediate majesty, as you will see above.
Fortunately the forecast is good for the weekend, so there is a buzz of excitement in the village. Cakes are being baked, ice-cream iced, cocktails concocted, gnomes hidden in bushes and I’m sure the famous Morris Dancers must be warming up somewhere.
Our Crown Cottage garden is opening on Sunday, so tomorrow we will have a good chance to admire gardens, buy produce, drink Pimms and listen to Steve Salfield and his jazz group, and goodness knows what else (more secrets to be revealed to us all?).
We’re not quite sure what effect the double whammy Wimbledon and World cup finals will have on Sunday afternoon visitors. Anyway, John and I will have the telly on with a good view (tennis, or football?) through the window from the terrace outside, as we did last year.
And finally, if you’re wondering about parking, there is a free park and ride system into the village, so no worries there. Do hope at least some of you will decide happily decide to forego the tennis.