Posts from Autumn Cottage have been mostly from Autumn Cottage Garden in recent months. Well, even I can't pretend that the last rose of summer lives forever (though I was somewhat astonished to see a rose bush still covered in blooms in the front garden yesterday afternoon). The garden is closing down for its winter sleep to human eyes - though we know that much is still awake beneath the ground and in nooks and crannies everywhere.
It's time to move inside the cottage - for me to sit down at my desk, write and share, once again, the pleasures of the shorter, darker days indoors with you. But also to share the pleasures of some of the towns and villages which I visit - the lovely parts of England which are still here to be enjoyed if you know where and how to look. (It's not rocket science...just take a few steps off the beaten track is the answer to 'how' :-) )
This last weekend saw Alec and myself travel just over an hour to Hindhead, where his elderly mother resides in a care home - then on the way back, to call in to Farnham for lunch and a stroll around the town. You won’t be surprised to know that we ended up in a churchyard and church - but also discovered a wonderful 'pot garden'. It was hidden down an alleyway and hardly visible from the road - but my 'gardening nose' smelled something interesting…here is a taste of the walk that we took around - are you coming with me?
Up a little alleyway of Georgian cottages - The Parish Church of St Andrews in Farnham
'...having been dark about 12 years, on ye 5th January 1656, exchanged this life of faith for that of vision' - an interesting description of blindness on this difficult to read memorial brass
The first time that I have seen an illegitimate child actually commemorated inside a church. I wonder what the story is behind this austere board?
...and alongside the above memorial, two beautiful painted glass windows in a side chapel, both with a childhood theme.
Then, down an alleyway, through an open gate...what are all those pots I espie? (and look at that beautiful round building behind - a sometime old oast house, I wonder? (Just across the road from the Farnham Maltings, so maybe...)
This shows what can be done without a scrap of 'natural' earth bed - even in late autumn, this collection of pots, grasses and evergreens packs a real impact.
As I was taking photographs, I was lucky enough to meet the owner, John - (who turned out to be the local greengrocer - this alleyway runs along the back of the shop), who very kindly said 'look through here' - opened a side gate and showed me this even more hidden gem - don't you just long to step inside?
This miniscule courtyard won - he told me - a Gold medal in the 'Hidden Gardens of Farnham' competition, which only made me think that I must see the rest next year! What inspiration, and proof that one can make a garden *anywhere*.
He was about to plant bulbs on the following day - methinks another visit in the spring is called for. Meanwhile - my patio needs more pots!