Another visit to another garden in the National Gardens Scheme on Sunday last. You never know quite what you are going to get, as the gardens range from those belonging to grand mansions, to more modest gardens who may well have teamed up with another one close by to give the NGS stipulated 'Three quarters of an hour of interest'. We had some idea of what the location may be like this time - the name gives it away! The venue was an old canal lock keepers cottage on the Kennet and Avon Canal, (close to the Crofton Pumping Station and Wilton Windmill), where the owners live a self sufficient life 'off the grid'.
On the towpath to the Lock Keepers cottage
We entered the gate in the high hedge (useful to stop passers-by on the canal boats peering into windows nowadays I guess - they would probably not have been there when the lock-keeper was active in operating the locks on the working canal). Walking to our right we found a very pretty and colourful cottage garden - which we did, however, walk around in about ten minutes.
A tumble of Hollyhocks, Clematis, daisies and sunflowers in the cottage garden
Teas under the trees
Cardoons and Cow-parsley - looking out to the surrounding fields
I surmised there must have been more - and indeed there was, at the other side of the house, where we found veggie beds, a tinkling pond (fountain solar powered), water butts, huge solar panels, a shepherd's hut, piles of 'useful stuff' stacked up 'around the back' (who could not live without a carved wooden mermaid in their life?).
Practicality - compost bins and solar panels tucked away at the top of the garden
'Useful stuff' stacked up, along with a dear old rocking horse that had seen better days
A wanton Mermaid, basking in the sun
Toys, puppets and seedheads - inspirational items in the Artists studio
Clematis on the studio wall
We also discovered the gallery of the artist owner (I love how many NGS gardens have artist-owners, who come complete with a gallery for me to browse) and the most delightful and happy bunch of chickens; we spent the rest of our visit drinking tea, eating cake (a most important 'NGS afternoon out' tradition) and talking to the hens - who were far too busy drinking, scratching and pecking to talk to us.
At the shepherd's hut; drink tea - eat cake - watch hens - (check iPhone!)
Happy hens scratching about - stacked logs forming ledges for chooky-apples in the background
We're used to watching but being ignored by the local creatures, though; with flowers, paintings tea and cake to also occupy us, it's still a blissfully happy way to spend an afternoon.