This summer we have enjoyed visits to three contrasting gardens. The first on a sunny day in mid June, was to RHS Hyde Hall Gardens. In the old established garden as well as in the new developments, there was a lot to see but for me, two areas were outstanding. The Rose Garden, its formal beds and rope walk set in immaculate lawns, was a picture, full of flower and heavy with scent. Then a few steps away in the Dry Garden we entered another world. The planting is full of variety and colour but there are no lawns here. The sloping gravel paths wind through the garden, the plants tumbling informally over boulders and scree. When we left Hyde Hall most of us still had unfinished business but three hours in the hot sun had been long enough for most.
Two weeks later we were in Lower End as guests of Judi and Mike Churcher. Theirs is a very young garden but developing apace. As we entered and looked down its length the evening sun was back-lighting the varied planting with very romantic effect. The garden has many original features but perhaps the most striking is the "flowery mead" where, with the help of an annual mulch, bold swathes of flowering plants and grasses are left to do their own thing. It's easy to see why the garden was recently recruited to the NGS.
Our third was an evening visit to Trinity College gardens in July, where we were guided by George Thorpe, the Head Gardener. As well as viewing the magnificent formal gardens of the College, we also walked through corners among the buildings where the unusual microclimate allows specimen palms, banana and Dicksonia to grow.
The next meeting will see the start of the indoor programme on 20th October.