If you want to be a gardener then England is the place for you. A relatively mild climate with lots of rain throughout the year makes gardening much easier than other parts of the world that suffer from too much heat or insufficient rain. Each year the village of Eckington holds an open garden event on a weekend in June so we decided to attend.
It wasn't far from Upton.
A free car park had been set up at the local cricket ground. Even at the best of times, there is not much room for cars in these little villages so it's a good idea to get the cars off the road.
We walked into the main part of the village.
Past the graveyard.
A lending library in an old disused telephone box.
The local church.
Inside, it had been decorated with a theme of musicals.
A little flute and piano music. I'm not sure if it is Bach or Handel but I lean towards the former. Which ever composer it is, that was not his best work.
The roof was quite spectacular with the curved support.
Naturally Lord and Lady Muck had a suitably large monument.
Mary Poppins. Incidently, my home town of Maryborough is the birth place of the author, P L Travers and the town has recently changed its walk / don't walk signs to feature Ms Poppins and you can see a short video here. My sisters will recognize the surname of the speaker.
Wizard of Oz along with the red slippers.
Alice in Wonderland.
It was a great way to make the church interesting for the weekend.
So we got out the map that was provided in exchange for your entry fee and headed off for the gardens.
I'm not going to talk about each one, but just enjoy the photos.
Most of the owners are sitting out in the garden and are usually happy to talk about their garden. In the distance you can see nearby Bredon Hill and the lady moaned about the row of tall trees that blocked a good part of her view of the hill.
Bredon Hill is 981 feet high.
If some of the houses remind you of the Cotswolds, it's not an accident. It's only a few miles away but as one owner put it, 200,000 pounds less in this village. Mind you, the price of houses here would be quite high compared to Upton.
Not on the list of gardens to visit.
That is a monster gold fish.
Many of the driveways were done with small pebbles.
The local hall.
Young school children had just finished a Maypole dance. Below they are hanging up their ribbons.
The temperature was well into the 80's and so we went into the meeting hall for a break. Naturally there were all sorts of cakes etc to purchase as well as tea, coffee and cold drinks.
We continued on.
I suspect many a bottle of wine has been consumed here.
A serious mulch heap.
By now I was looking for a seat and shade and I must admit I indulged under the umbrella.
I also rested under this trellis and talked to the owner who had retired after living in Birmingham and come down to this village. He said that many of the people who lived here were retired and it was a great village to live in.
There was no way we were going to see all of the gardens and so we decided that one more garden would be enough and then we would have lunch. We came across what appeared to be an enormous garden and so it proved.
This is the Google Maps view from above.
The driveway to the house.
These pergolas get quite hot on a sunny day.
Note the carving at the top of the trunk.
Lo and behold, a eucalyptus tree from Australia and I duly picked and crushed a leaf to get a dose of that familiar aroma. I happened to meet the owners as I left the garden and it turned out the wife was from Perth in Australia. They had owned the property for 26 years and yes, she does have some help in the garden.
The Malvern Hills in the distance.
The fish in the ponds are protected from predators by electrified wires.
Marianne suggested that we take a selfie. It was a bad idea.
Large gold fish.
It was a fabulous garden and most towns would be proud to have it as their public garden. It is fascinating to get a chance to look behind the hedge or fence.
My mother was a keen gardener and she would have loved to have been with us.
Lunch for me was king prawns wrapped in filo.
Everybody else had a smoked salmon and crayfish salad. I think it was better than my choice on a hot day. It was a wonderful experience.