Photo-journal: Blackheath Open Gardens

Last weekend there was an Open Gardens Festival weekend raising money for the Greenwich & Bexley community hospice. I was lucky enough to get to visit two of the gardens, both of which were happy for their gardens to be photographed.

The gardens were in the same road and it was interesting to see the different treatment of the two gardens and to see many of the same plants we have in our garden too. Both gardens sloped upwards, which no doubt brings its own challenges and all of the Gardeners were more than happy to stop and chat and name plants, after all if you were showing your garden you'd want to do that too, wouldn't you?

The first garden retained a central area for lawn with planting rising toward the rear of the garden where there was a terrace and a bed of yew bushes, underneath which is a large air raid shelter. 

I left this garden after speaking with the owners about and admiring the magnificent day lilies - the russet flowers shown in the second photo above - and some lemon drizzle cake wrapped in a serviette in my handbag!  Well it was for charity, and you know how partial I am to a slice of cake... 

They were getting busy with new visitors arriving, even though it was well into the last hour of opening, so I moved onto the second garden.

I was already envious as I arrived when I spotted the cold frame and ferns. My envy deepened as the owners encouraged me to walk around and sit and enjoy their garden. In this garden there was no lawn which had been replaced with a terrace not far from the house and a stepped walkway through the garden.

It was fabulous.  What's more shocking to me is that the owners had only had this garden for about ten years having bought the house for the garden's potential!

Just look at the pictures and you'll see what I mean. 

Isn't it wonderful?

And this is the garden where I discovered the name of the bush I'd seen over at Marks Hall Arboretum in their walled garden - it's a Cistus (it's the seventh photo in this garden above).  I was glad to finally know the name of this plant as we saw lots of it in Portugal (and I mean lots!), which you'll see when I finally get around to sharing those photos!

It was lovely of the hosts to encourage people to sit awhile and enjoy their garden.  When I was talking to them another man joined the conversation and would you believe it he lived in the same road as me, about ten doors down.  Of course, with this being London he was outside of my "known neighbour zone" but we had a lovely chat and compared gardens. 

And as is typical of things like this, the very next day I saw him again getting off the bus (the bus stops right outside our house, so that's ok!).  So not only did I get to see two local back gardens, but I also met another of our neighbours (even though this one's a bit further away).  Result.

In the second garden there were some plants for sale for charity and I couldn't resist this Lord Bute Pelargonium.  It's my first pelargonium, although there are other leaves around the garden that look like this so now I'm wondering if it really is native to our garden and we've just been weeding them out.  There's an experiment underway to find out now!

But isn't he beautiful?  He's potted up and taking pride of place on our patio.

So all in all I'd say it was a very successful Open Gardens weekend, hopefully raising lots of money for a great cause.

Did you get out and visit any Open Gardens last weekend?