Is there anything more beautiful in the world than a walled garden? The answer we all know to be no. There is something so contained, so benign, about a walled garden; in which patterns of brick walls and grass paths, glasshouses and vegetables take on a glorious life of their own, enveloped in a gentle micro-climate that disparages the worst the weather can throw at it and nutures and brings things on in just the way they should be.
Yesterday, after a brilliant, still, baking day in the valley, and at the seaside, with friends, I called in at the beautiful walled garden not far from here where my friend Liz has created the most extraordinary paradise you can imagine. About 20 years ago it was restored from dereliction and turned into a beautiful flower garden. Liz took over a few years ago and has done her own, massive restoration, introducing vegetables and replanting borders. I needed to borrow flowers because we’ve spent the day today taking photos at the Old Parsonage; and after the cold wet summer everything in my own garden was washed away or has decided not to come up (or if it has, it’s been eaten by slugs).
The picture in the Walled Garden, by contrast, was one of exuberant profusion. The English summer at her most beautiful. We had a glass of wine, with Liz and friends; and picked a few bunches of placid old fashioned roses; and it was so beautiful that I took a few snaps to remember the moment.
And isn’t it a relief that summer has arrived, at last? If you are like me, the weeks of rain are forgotten in an instant. All is forgiven on an evening and in a place like this.