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In an English Country Garden.


By david


The perfect one, too!

Thursday afternoon saw me driving along narrow, hedge-lined roads in West Somerset, with yellow signs guiding, even teasing me, onwards. It was a bit like going through a maze on a treasure hunt but, as I approached my destination, there were little “familiar” signs that I was on the right track, like the ford I drove across. Today, thankfully, the water was but a trickle, and not the swollen river I have read about and seen pictures of here on GOY. Nor would I have needed the yellow balloons tied to the gatepost, bobbing in the breeze, to tell me that I had arrived at Spritzhenry’s wonderful home and garden, open for charity under the National Gardens Scheme (NGS). This was no longer just a lovely pic – it was real!

“Are you from GOY?”, asked the gentleman taking the entrance fee, and I was given a sprig of sweet pea to tuck into my shirt breast pocket. Good one! I wouldn’t have to scurtinise strange women, wondering whether they were Spritz, Andrearichter, Arlene or Louise 1, all of whom I managed to find very quickly. Henry, of course, stood out a mile away, having four legs and a waggy tail. He was in his element, having so many people to throw his ball for him to retrieve.

It was great to be able to visually separate Spritz’s gardens into several areas, using paths, borders and the stream (above), so that I could ensure that I missed nothing.

Each “garden” has its own focal point or feature; an obelisk, gazebo, summer house, sculpture, for example.

Obelisk supporting sweet peas in the top border

Wall finial

Spritz’s famous driftwood sculpture

Planted walls and troughs feature in the gardens

In the garden room, members of the local Women’s Institute served out cream teas – delicious! Louise 1, Andrearichter and family, and myself, opted to enjoy ours in the cool shade under the pergola in the back garden.

From here, we also enjoyed gazing at Spritz’s back garden borders, the location of her purple/gold/white planting scheme.

View of the back garden

Two more views of the back garden

As you can imagine, the gardens attract so much wildlife. The apricot Erysimum in the back garden was a magnet for butterflies, none of them staying still long enough for me to get a decent pic. No wonder, with so many attractive flowers to visit.

Bee on Erigeron

I took so many pictures of plants, so here are just a few:-

A “mingling” of colours, as Spritz herself might say

A lovely drift of Osteospermum jucundum

An amazing Pyracantha

Beautiful pattern created by the sun and the leaves of Parthenocissus

There were plenty of planting schemes in my current favourite colours:-

Lysimachia ciliata “Firecracker” and Heuchera (“Creme Brulee” or “Caramel”)

Well, the day came to an end all too quickly, but not before the Goyers’ group gathered in the garden room to raise a champagne toast (“Thank You” to the suppliers :-) ) to the success of the open days and all who helped make them happen – and to GrowsonYou!

Spritz, hubby Peter, and Henry, you were the perfect hosts, and it was the highlight of my 3-day break. It was a fabulous venue for us all to meet up. To borrow lyrics from another song, it was such a perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you!


More blog posts by david

Previous post: Something NOT to be Sniffed At.

Next post: In Praise of our Parks : Part Five



Fantastic photos David - what a wonderful garden Spritz has created. Thanks for sharing your re-collection of the day.

14 Jun, 2009


David your writing is enchanting.

The garden is so large and beautiful that we'd have to be taking photos for days on end to cover each aspect wouldn't we !!!!!
It was lovely to meet you and the other GOYers and thanks for adding to my enjoyment of the day.

14 Jun, 2009


Brilliant blog, David.
Wonderful pictures of your visit.
Beautiful gardens and lovely flowers :o)

14 Jun, 2009


It was a lovely day and it was great to meet everyone and finally get to know more than an avatar.
Your blog sells the day to a tee. It was beautiful and your pictures are fantastic.
I am still revelling at the Isle of Wight Festival at the moment - 1.25 last night after listening to the Stereophonics and Razorlight. Sore feet from too much dancing and a lost voice from too much singing, the gardening can wait this weekend.
How was Gardeners World Live?
I'll catch up soon xx

14 Jun, 2009


Oh my what a great blog I was captivated and the garden I am sad all over again that I could'nt make it. :o((

14 Jun, 2009


Glad you got home in one piece~ you must be tired~how was Gardeners World?did you see Carol?
Enjoy the festival Andrea~this is what Summer is all about!
Lovely to meet you and your family!

14 Jun, 2009


Glad everyone had a great time. It's nice meeting other GoYers. I've met one already, and nearly met another 2. lol. Perhaps I'll meet them properly one day.

14 Jun, 2009


thanks for sharing your lovely day out.

14 Jun, 2009


Perfect indeed David and perfectly presented gives a great flavour of the day you must all have enjoyed .

Well done Spritz seeing these photos think the NGS should be honoured to have you as a member if I owned such a stunning garden I d be asking if they met my criteria ..x

14 Jun, 2009


You're all very welcome, but it would be impossible to pay full justice to Spritz's garden, wouldn't it,Jan, Louise, Andrea and Arlene?

Gardener's World Live was fun and interesting, but had my mobile phone in my pocket instead of my camera - DOH !!
The pics I took with that were miserable, but it was actually nice just to wander around and have a good look.
I had to smile at the best Show Garden, titled "Your England: From Information to Destination", since I had just done a large chunk of it all. There was also a garden called "Credit Munch" - same title as the one which won best garden at the Gardening Scotland show 2 weeks ago, and one themed on nursery rhymes. I saw Joe Swift, but missed Carol (yes, she was here while you were at her Glebe Cottage!). She was presenting a workshop on getting plants for free, but this was sold out (probably weeks ago). I hope some-one who went along shows us pics/does a blog on it all.

Yes, Arlene, I was a bit "woolly-headed" on Saturday, but back to normal now. :-).

Bobg, sorry you missed seeing Sprit'z garden, but now that she has told us that the garden will be opening again next year, put the dates in your diary as soon as Spritz gives us them, as I'm sure she will.

Hi Hywel (welcome back, btw., I was recently updated by others). I do remember that you and Amy met up, and the pic of you both in your garden. How did you "nearly" meet others, and what prevented it?

Andrea - surprised to hear from you, with the IoW Festival in full swing. Am acutally watching it on ITV2 as I write this. Wouldn't mind seeing the Stereophonics myself. Enjoy the rest of it!! :-)

14 Jun, 2009


Exactly, Bb! I was thinking that the NGS "Inquisition" should just have been a mere formality here. Spritz is proibably laying low right now, recovering from all the hard work - but, wasn't it worth it? When are you opening your garden? I travelled through Yorkshire on Friday late afternoon/early evening on my way home. Now, if I'd known in advance I'd be doing that................ The A1 traffic was atrocious, so I diverted to Ripon, arrived just too late for last entry to Fountains Abbey and Studely Royal, but enjoyed the deer park there. Then drove via Leyburn and Richmond, rejoining the A1 at Scotch Corner. There is also a nursery in Yorkshire I had been e-mailing re a plant which would be fab for our themed garden! Again, if only I'd known I'd be there.............

14 Jun, 2009


Me with an open garden David ? Having seen Spritzs erm dont think so lol .. my word you do some travelling aye you were in North Yorkshire but still some 60 miles from us so if A1 bad the journey here and back again would not have been good for you .

Richmond is beautiful with its Castle overlooking the River Swale of course you no time to stop but so pretty .

Fountains Abbey magical great area for castles and abbeys but if trying to get from A to B dont stop you could be a while .

14 Jun, 2009


David - thanks for the great blog! Yes, we were both exhausted, and I had some 'extra' people to show round even yesterday! But it was all for charity, so I didn't feel I could say no.

It was wonderful to meet you and the other GOY-ers, and to see my garden through your eyes and those of Jangue and Louise!

Yes, you'll have seen that I do intend to open again next year, and yes, of course I'll post the dates as soon as they are decided. :-)

14 Jun, 2009


Don't be so modest, Bb! Your woodland planting, etc., is fab! 60 miles out of a total of 1088 would have been nothing! Even in the largest county in England, it would have been not too gr8 a hardship (I think?). On the car's radio I heard that York was hosting a naked bike ride that afternoon. If true, may account for the traffic queues. Can you confirm that this event actually took place?

14 Jun, 2009


Don't believe it! They'd all be saddle sore! LOL.

14 Jun, 2009


Dear Spritz,

Hoping that you are having a well-earned rest - finally!

It must be strange to see other folk writing about your garden but, honestly, I could have written an entire illustrated novel on Ash Cottage! Hope I got the plant names correct?

You raised a fabulous amount of money for charity, especially for Thursday openings, and am thrilled to bits with the plants I bought, which fit in with our own themed garden. XXX from us 3 here!

14 Jun, 2009


Yes on local news David but for some reason only seemed to attract men over 50 a bit like naturists ..why take your clothes off when you look so much better covered up ? apparently it takes place in over 80 cities throughout the world ..would rather have seen Brazils or Swedens version.

14 Jun, 2009


Oh Spritz! Saddle sores sound worse than bed ones, lol!

14 Jun, 2009


LOL. At least you could help them, David!

I am thoroughly enjoying seeing the photos you all took, and reading the blogs! I am also very impressed with your plant knowledge. AND you knew the difference between a Wisteria and an Ash tree, lol

14 Jun, 2009


Bb, can't even begin to think about watching a bunch of Brazilian nuts on bikes, but, knowing the Swedes, theirs would probably have seen a large turnip - oops, sorry - turnout!

14 Jun, 2009


Many Thanks, Spritz! I really do pay attention to what folks write about and depict on GOY! The wisteria almost sent me into hysteria, LOL! :-)

14 Jun, 2009


Oh, and if you ever visit Yorkshire, add a zero onto the mileage given on directional signs! My 22-mile detour to avoid traffic standstill felt more like 220!!! :-)

14 Jun, 2009


I have a fair bit of catching up to do, I have loads of pictures on my camera, some of my front and back garden, Spritz's garden and the festival ( the mankini was hillarious, I don't think I will post that on here!!) When I manage to upload them all, separate them into different events I will do a few blogs. I am recovering today after a few late nights, its 14.30 and I'm still in my jimjams!!

15 Jun, 2009


Yes please, Andrea, that sounds great! :-) You sound weary - I'm not surprised!

15 Jun, 2009


Hi Andrea, you're going to be VERY busy then. I'll look forward to your blogs, once you've had a rest. :-)

15 Jun, 2009


~might have been better to go straight up the M6 to Carlisle and on from the NEC David~could have maybe seen Tatton Park on the way?Did you buy any plants there?

15 Jun, 2009


That is my usual route, Arlene, and is slightly less mileage, but, hey, I was on holiday, and am bored with this route. Would you believe, when I got to Northumberland and saw Lindisfarne/Holy Island (one of our fave places), I drove down off the A1 to the shore and saw that the causeway was open. There I was, 10pm, wandering around the village, chatting with the night anglers, intrigued by the night bird- and moth-watchers, who were rigging up elaborate lighting systems on trailers behind their cars, preparing to get that vital pic.

It was all fascinating, and glad I saw it, despite knowing I had another 2hrs drive ahead. :-)

PS. Did not see any plants at the NEC, just very pleased with the 4 plants I bought at the plant sale in Spritz's garden, which fit into our theme very well, would you believe? :-)

15 Jun, 2009


~wow!The A1 can be horrible but Northumberland is worth it~thrilled you got on Lindisfarne~a while since I have been there~really envy you! My blood still runs black and white!
Could have asked my sister to put you up overnight~she has lots of room~heck of a drive~was the road quiet?~must have been well after midnight when you got home.
We used to travel overnight when we went up with the children small~knocks you out the following day but is a very peaceful way to go.

15 Jun, 2009


Hi Arlene! The A1 was only horrible in Yorks., hence my detour there. My parents took the 4 of us to Lindisfarne on daytrips when we were kids - have loved the place ever since (and I know a few more GOYers do, too). Shona, James and Eilidh also love it there, once I introduced it to them. Had never been there quite so late in the evening b4, but the atmosphere was even greater at this hour! Got home 1.00am (I'm usually still up at that time anyways, here on GOY, lol!). :-)

15 Jun, 2009


~not bad going!~some nice places to eat in Alnwick which I also love but not at that hour!.
Used to live right on the coast near Blyth when small and used to love going out on the beach really early when the tide has just gone out catching sandeels to go fishing with my grandfather.

15 Jun, 2009


Brings back another childhood memory for me, Arlene. I used to get up, as a kid, in summer, at 4am, especially when the extra low tides happened, and walk down to the beach and just literally pick up the flounders, plaice etc., which had been left stranded. They would, of course, be buried, with just their eyes above the sand, and I loved the flip I got when I stood on one in my wellies, LOL!

But, shamefully, have never yet visited Alnwick Castle with its magnificent gardens. I feel another mini-break with J and E coming on............ :-)

15 Jun, 2009


~my grandad used to send out a small boat with a line and some hooks on it from the shore~nothing more than a plank of wood shaped with a sail and a little light on it~we used to sit round a fire on the sand as the tide took it out and wait for the fish to bite.Fresh fish alright!

15 Jun, 2009


Thanks David. What a lovely blog and such great photos of Spritz's beautiful garden.

19 Jun, 2009


And, Thank You, Dawnsaunt. It was just fantastic to be in Spritz's wonderful garden - I can't really pay it full justice.

20 Jun, 2009


I can imagine it was amazing David. You caught so many aspects of the garden that I havent seen before. I'm turning kind of a green colour, lol.

20 Jun, 2009


Green is good, lol! You'll have to go next year! :-)

20 Jun, 2009


That would be good - if you can get there from Fife, I have no excuse not to get there from The Midlands.

20 Jun, 2009


We did joke that the yellow NGS signs should have started at Gretna Green! I planned a 3-day mini-break around my visit. Saw so many lovley places, despite the many motoring miles, but this was definitely the highlight!

Sorry, off to bed now, working in the morning. Have a good night, and, hopefully, a happy gardening weekend? :-)

20 Jun, 2009


Poor husband - we'll have to order about 2,000 yellow arrows next year and he'll have to drive to all the major motorway junctions to fasten them up! LOL.

20 Jun, 2009


Spritz: Did I read somewhere that you said they all have to be taken down again afterwards, grrr poor husband will be busy.
David: Sounds like you had a perfect mini break and hope you werent late for work this morning!

20 Jun, 2009


Yes, the Highways Department turns a blind eye to the signs, as long as they are taken down sharpish, and the NGS ask for that too.

20 Jun, 2009


There is so much hard work involved, on the part of the garden owners, as I have learned. First, the NGS "Inquisition", then the work involved leading up to the open day/s. Car parking, refreshments, plant sales, health and safety, etc., all to be arranged by the garden owner/s. Followed by a visit on the first day by the County Organisers from the NGS who gave the go-ahead, asking visitors what they think, sampling the refreshments, stufying the plants for sale, etc. And, if there is more than one open day, the signs must be taken down between openings!, Then put back up again - by the garden owners!

Personally, I'd rather sit my driving test again ...and again!o.,

But it is all done by fabulous folks like you, Spritz and Co.,
for the benefit of others less able or fortunate - and I salute you!

Just had, a thought, Spritz! If you make up 2 signs of yellow arrows, one pointing left and othe right, with the words "Spritz's Garden" within the yellow arrow, post them here as pics, we could download them, and have the gr8test signage to a garden ever!!! LoL!

21 Jun, 2009


I'm trying to catch up, great blog, great garden, thankyou:-)

10 Oct, 2009

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