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With a 55% chance of rain forecast and quite a long drive ahead, I probably would not have set off had I not, obligatorily under Covid arrangements, already booked and paid for my ticket for this garden visit on Saturday, 25th July. And, truth to tell, I nearly turned round about five minutes from my destination, having been diverted twice for road closures, been held up by cows on the road, and was now depressed by rain on my widescreen. But stubbornness made me continue to this garden in Wrington, near Bristol Airport.

I was not the only mad person. There were perhaps eight others wandering around these gardens in the rain, and in the course of my visit I was able to chat separately with the owners of the cottage and a gardening trainee. The proprietors had bought the cottage, which came with an adjacent field, some 27 years ago. Mrs Park Cottage was self-taught, and had designed the garden essentially for children to enjoy. I learnt this as I was leaving, when I commented that more than once ‘Alice in Wonderland’ had come to my mind as I went round. She told me that I was not the first to say the same thing.

Park Cottage. The garden was to the right-hand side, and seemed to be a long thin triangle, the apex of which was the cottage, and the base of which was at the trees in the far distance.

I first explored the patches in front of and behind the house, which together alone would have been sufficient to satisfy most house owners. Only two photos here though, as there’s so much else to see.

I then moved to the ‘field’ area. This is just the beginning.

A lovely mauve border to the main lawn
The delicate tints of this dahlia took my breath away.

I didn’t go inside the greenhouse, which housed carnivorous plants among other things. I had also seen some similar plants through the windows of the conservatory attached to the house.

From now on visitors were asked to follow the directions from signpost to signpost, numbered 1 to 8. This was because pathways were far too narrow for people to be able to cross in opposite directions while also meeting Covid guidelines. As far as I could tell, with hindsight, this had involved walking one circuit inside and touching a larger one, with a small amount of pathway in common, through a jungly area.

Entry to the vegetable garden. It was raining for all but about ten minutes of my visit. This is my umbrella, not a canopy.
10-foot (3-metre) yew hedges were a significant feature of the garden. I learnt that this is where they started. The intention had been to create a wind break for a badminton court – only it was never used as such.
I entered it and turned round. These streaks indicate how far the rain fell in 1/250 of a second, which is how long my camera decided the exposure should be.

There were many places to sit, often in arbours, but because of the rain, there was no temptation to use them.
The beginning of the jungly bit
Starting the second, larger, circuit
This ‘long walk’ is the base of the triangle, at the far end of the ‘field’.
Creamy yellow border
Back into the jungly bit
Back to the main lawn
And on my way to the car, parked in a field a couple of minutes ‘ away. I decided to find another way home. On the way, the rain was falling in torrents, the roads were more like canals – and I was held up for 15 minutes in a contraflow system. But I think I’m pleased I made the effort, for all that, as it was such a fascinating garden.