An English country garden

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Matti Holmes and her plant stall

It was a glorious summer’s day for Richard and Matti Holmes’ open garden on Saturday July 1 as part of the National Gardens Scheme. We arrived early afternoon, down a winding narrow overgrown lane towards their house on the slopes of the Brede Valley. Turning into the field assigned for parking, we remembered to keep to the higher ground, rather than seek the shade under the hedgerow. Last year, the steep incline and long slippery grass had nearly prevented our exit with dignity.

Richard Holmes

We met Richard along the lane, carrying an axe, but with no intent to harm, only to hammer in a guide-post. Already, guests had arrived, warmly welcomed, and teas were being served. The plant stall was buzzing, the principal attraction as Matti is widely-known for her plantswoman skills with unusual varieties.

The garden had been beautifully prepared, a miniature world of beauty to this non-gardener’s eye. I recall the grace of the angel fishing rods most as they gently waved in the breeze. We met and talked to friends, bought plants and had slices of home-made cake and tea.  The National Gardens Scheme had proved its worth again both to support and enjoy.

Photos: Kenneth Bird

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