29 June 2014

Barclays has closed

When I moved to Ham in 1996 there were three banks on Ham Parade and now with the closure of Barclays there are none.

This is a double-blow for Ham as not only have we lost the banks but we are due to get a chain supermarket from Sainsbury's which will be a serious threat to some of the local shops. I will not be shopping there and I will continue to support the local shops.

Work to change the building started immediately and both the sign and the cash machine have gone.

Woodbine Cottage in Petersham Open Gardens 2014

Woodbine Cottage was the last garden that I visited in Petersham Open Gardens 2014.

By then it was quite late in the day and that, plus the slightly awkward location a little to the south of the main cluster of gardens, meant that while it was far from empty it was not frustratingly busy either and I was able to take (most) shots without people in them.

The garden was "L" shaped, or rather a reflected "L" with a lawn across the back of the house that then extended a long way back on the right-side. The long garden was broken up in to different areas each with its own character.

Looking back toward the house from about half-way down the garden shows how that lawn weaved and also how the tree helped to create a shady zone. The paving in that area suggested that the shading was too much for the grass to endure.

Right next to the house was this colourful pot made all the more dramatic by the white of the house behind it.

27 June 2014

Ginnels House in Petersham Open Gardens 2014

Ginnels House was a new addition to Petersham Open Gardens in 2014 so I made sure that I saw it despite growing tiredness.

The house was well hidden at the end of Sandpits Road. I had been in that quiet cul-de-sac several times just to be nosey and to see if there was anything worth recording for this blog but Ginnels House and its garden were well away from the road and so had managed to escape my attention.

The house was a rambling collection of extensions that had turned a modest house in to something quite large which had a large garden around it.

Both the house and the garden had signs of extensive recent work and as a result a lot of the garden looked a little sparse while it waited for the new plants to grow.

The most mature part of the garden was around the greenhouse at the far end and the top three all came from that part.

The final picture came from the south side of the house where a long rose border stood above the lawn which fell away steeply towards the boundary wall.

24 June 2014

Cecil House in Petersham Open Gardens 2014

Cecil House was another of the regulars that was included in Petersham Open Gardens 2014. I went to see it again partially because I wanted to see them and also because it has some very nice features.

One of the best features was, of course, the house itself here sitting proudly above the main lawn. Like many similar houses locally it had been added to a few times over the many years it had been standing there but it wore those additions with more comfort than most.

In one corner of the lawn away from the house was a small tranquil pool and next to that an enticing path leading through the trees.

Masking the rise between the lawn and the house was this trimmed hedge. There were other pretty things to see in the garden, including another lion's head water feature, but it was late in the day by then and I was rushing a little to get the last few gardens in before either they closed or I collapsed.

22 June 2014

Twyntre in Petersham Open Gardens 2014

Twyntre is a modern house (it's a Huf Haus) so it is only fair that it has a modern garden and this statue that greets all visitors is a good sign of things to come.

Getting to the front door has all the pleasure of crossing a moat to a castle though this time the water is not very deep. The spur to the right leads to the back garden which begins in gravel.

The watery reception in the front garden is echoed in the back, as are the rectangular shapes.

In the corner opposite the pond are more rectangles this time creating a space for plants.

21 June 2014

Harrington Lodge in Petersham Open Gardens 2014

I was looking forward to seeing Harrington Lodge again in Petersham Open Gardens 2014 as I had only seen it once before. The front of the house I knew well as I had walked curiously along Sudbrook Lane many times.

The thick rich borders were the defining feature of the garden and because they were so long it was easy to find them without people in the way.

I was trying to avoid close-ups in my summary of Petersham Open Gardens 2014 as they could be of anywhere and I wanted to show the gardens but this one got the better of me and its begging to be included worked.

As with many gardens in the area, old brick walls were as much a part of the garden as the plants. Here the plants try to deny that but the wall still manages to peek through.

20 June 2014

Wirral in Petersham Open Gardens 2014

Wirral was one of the smallest gardens on show in Petersham Open Gardens 2014 but that did not stop it from being interesting or charming.

It's layout was fairly traditional with a curved lawn.surrounded by broad borders and brick walls beyond them. On the other side of one of the walls was Richmond Park.

A paved patio area next to the house was enhanced by a small gathering of plant pots.

The overall view of the garden was pretty and I've not included a picture of that simply because every one of the photos that I took was full of people and they became the focus of the pictures rather than the garden that I was trying to capture.

17 June 2014

Petersham House in Petersham Open Gardens 2014

Petersham House is not one of my favourite gardens but I keep going to it anyway and I was there again for Petersham Open Gardens 2014.

It is a garden in three parts and the main reason for visiting it is to see the long border that runs away from the house and past the nurseries which are behind the hedge on the right. Unfortunately the path goes nowhere and having reached the far end there is nothing to do but turn round and go back.

The large lawn at the back of the house is enclosed by the tall brick walls that are a major feature in that area, notably at Ham House and the walls that surround it. The wall furthest from the house has another larger border but this one is divided in to segments by hedges.

These borders have substantial and varied plants that could almost convince you that they are not planned and managed.

Looking across the lawn puts it in context with the house and also shows why I think that the garden could do a little more. The hedges are nice but the lawn lacks focus. It is about the only garden like this that does not have at least a pond.

The kitchen gardens lies beyond the hedge at the back of the previous photo and while its purpose is to be productive I also find it attractive, mainly because it is full of odd things that looks as though they have been heavily used.

Also in that part of the garden is a large chicken-run with a neat if uneven roof, the colour of which contrasts cutely with the sprinkling of red flowers.

16 June 2014

Petersham Nurseries in Petersham Open Gardens 2014

Strictly speaking Petersham Nurseries was not part of Petersham Open Gardens 2014 but Petersham House was and as I had to go through the nurseries to get there I took a few photos as I did so.

The first picture is a reminder, because sometimes one is needed, that there is still a nursery there among the forest of tables set for tea.

I'll confess to a touch or artistic posturing in this picture but I really liked the mix of shapes and colours so I have forgiven myself for taking it.

15 June 2014

Rosebank in Petersham Open Gardens 2014

Rosebank is one of the regulars in Petersham Open Gardens so it was no surprise to see it there again in 2014.

One of the treats of visiting it is that it is reached via the narrow, and often muddy, footpath that runs from River Lane towards the nursery and church. The garden is hidden behind another high brick wall and it entered through a small door. It feels like the Secret Garden.

I have photographed this lion water-feature at the back of the house a few times on every visit experimenting with different angles, tilts and zooms. In the end I chose a fairly normal composition selected because of the ferns and bird box on the left.

The main feature of the garden at Rosebank was the raised border around the lawn that had a pretty combination of shapes, heights and colours all encased in a frame of brick.

14 June 2014

Petersham Lodge in Petersham Open Gardens 2014

Petersham Lodge is probably the garden that most people wanted to see in Petersham Open Gardens 2014 and I spent quite a bit of time there even though I had seen it several times before.

Of course the lake was the main feature and I have always loved it and the little bridge that crosses one corner of it.

The most popular view though is this one back towards the house.

The duck houses were new to me this year and I thought that they were very pretty. I also liked the way that they were painted in the same colour as the bridge.

Other work had been done around the lake. In particular the area where the water tickles in to the lake had matured nicely to hide the man-made elements.

After the lake, my favourite parts of the garden are the wildernesses that separate the formal parts of the garden. Smaller paths sneak through these areas and even in  garden full of people it is easy to hide.

Perhaps it was the time of year that the garden was open or perhaps the mild Winter brought the flowers out early but there were only a few patches of colour and the borders next to the house were not as exciting as in previous years.

The neatly clipped hedge had fared better and the little formal garden to the side of the house looked good in the bright sun.

My final picture in this selection from the many that I took is of another part of the wilderness. This time it was at the north end of the garden where the vegetables were. Again a semi-hidden object adds a further touch of interest.

It was a shame that the flowers did not play their full part on the day but there was still so much to see and enjoy at Petersham Lodge.

12 June 2014

Rutland Cottage in Petersham Open Gardens 2014

A lot of Ham and Petersham is hidden behind high brick walls so it is nice to have an excuse to spy behind them.

I had walked past the wall on River Lane, near to the footpath towards the nursery and church, but had no idea what lay behind it. I was pleasantly surprised.

It was only a little garden but a lot can be done in little gardens, as this one shows. I must confess to some prejudice here as the theme of the garden was brick circles of differing heights, which is the theme of my own garden.

The owner explained that this sun-trap garden had been a swimming pool when they moved in and they definitely made the right choice in changing it.

10 June 2014

The Glasshouse in Petersham Open Gardens 2014

The Glasshouse is always a personal highlight of Petersham Open Gardens and this year the geometric design was helped by the good sunlight emphasising the shapes.

The bad news was that the fame of the garden and the good weather had combined to bring out the crowds and as the lawn was off limits that meant that we were all squeezed on to the path.

The compensation was that with no people on it the lawn could be photographed at any time and from any angle. I just had to make sure that nobody in bright clothes was lurking in the background.

I spent a lot of time in this garden and sat for a while on one of the benches where I could look along the lawn to the garden room. Despite the number of the people milling around the garden there was a peaceful and restful atmosphere to enjoy.

8 June 2014

Manor Farmhouse in Petersham Open Gardens 2014

The second garden that I visited in Petersham Open Gardens 2014 was the Manor Farmhouse. The postal address is in Petersham Road but the entrance to the garden was via Tree Close.

One of the delights of Open Gardens days is the range of gardens on display and while some of the bigger and grander gardens make the most impact all of them have features that make them a pleasure to see.

In this case the most distinctive and decorative feature was the hedges that framed borders on both side of the lawn.

There were some interesting things at the far end of the garden including a very tame mouse at home among a pile of small logs. There was also this nice view looking back towards the house (it is just out of picture to the left).