Last weekend I went garden visiting with a fellow gardening anorak, Naomi over at Out of My Shed. It was great to be able to visit gardens for two whole days, without worrying about my companion getting fidgety and bored. Plus, Naomi has a van, which meant I didn’t have to hold back on buying plants – or heed concerns over a lack of room in the boot or getting the car dirty.
We went to some great gardens, more of which in future posts. I was blown away by how immaculate Hidcote was, and how beautiful. I was also blown away by the crowds. I was expecting it to be busy, but the garden was so packed that it was sometimes impossible to progress through it. I’ve heard Troy Scott-Smith, the head gardener at Sissinghurst, talk about the challenges of working in a garden that attracts such high visitor numbers – it must be a similar case for the team here.
I was also blown away by the behaviour of the visitors. There was no escaping a woman in mustard-coloured trousers who alternated between marching around the garden and standing abruptly still, talking very loudly on her mobile. With her free hand, she was waving her SLR randomly about, snapping photos without looking at what she was doing. I don’t think I’ll ever forget her.
People were also manhandling the plants with gay abandon, and in one case, filching plant material. At neighbouring Kiftsgate, I witnessed a group of people speculating about the depth of the pool, then lowering their golfing umbrellas into the water to measure it (in case you’re wondering, it’s a couple of feet deep). They then walked off, umbrellas dripping everywhere, looking very pleased with themselves. (Also at Kiftsgate, a group of Germans were having a conversation about black stockings: ‘Black Stockings? Ja, Black Stockings! Black Stockings! I can only assume they were talking about a plant variety.)
But I digress. Hidcote was truly lovely, and if there hadn’t have been so many people there, I might have taken some nice photos. Here are two that I did manage to take.