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A village in Dorset, on the River Piddle, recorded in the Doomsday Book as having thirty hides.

It was ages since I had visited a garden in the National Gardens Scheme. There weren’t many gardens near me planned to open yesterday, so I went a little further than usual, into Dorset, to visit Ivy House Garden in Piddletrenthide, described as, ‘A steep and challenging ½ acre garden with fine views, set on south facing site in the beautiful Piddle valley. Wildlife friendly garden with mixed borders, ponds, propagating area, large vegetable garden, fruit cage, greenhouses and polytunnel, chickens and bees, plus a nearby allotment. Daffodils, tulips and hellebores in quantity for spring openings. Run on organic lines with plants to attract birds, bees and other insects. Come prepared for steep terrain and a warm welcome!’

The garden was opposite the village stores in the main street, where the abundance of parked cars told me that the attraction was popular. I took a walking pole from the car, given the warning about the steep terrain, not so much for going up, but for coming down again.

This was the view that greeted me as I entered. The picture does not convey just how steep the garden is.

The garden did not lend itself – with dramatic exceptions – to photos of vistas, being suited rather to cameo appearances. I made my way slowly and steadily upwards.

These ladies look as if they’re singing, don’t they?

These ladies, and one gentleman, were, in close harmony. I was amazed to see that they were using just words as aide memoire. I could never have managed without my part’s music. Their repertoire was extensive.

This picture gives a better idea of how steep the garden was – and I was not yet at the top.

The gate led to a lane, which I did not take. But I did take advantage of a nearby seat for a while.

View from the top

I took a different way down for some of the way.

The singers are still there – and this time one, at least, seems to be using a musical score.

About half way down (I had been using my walking pole because I had gone ‘off piste’ and there was no handrail there) I met Bridget and her husband, owners of the property for the last 36 years. Bridget told me that they had bought the place for its garden, which in 1986 had absolutely nothing in it. She also told me that Alfie, the dog, had ‘made’ a video for the NGS: https://ngs.org.uk/a-trot-around-ivy-house-garden/

Two other ladies were camera-shy

This was my favourite spot. And one of the garden’s many seats was strategically placed there.

A coffee and cake down in the courtyard completed my visit to the lovely garden, but not to Piddletrenthide. I went on elsewhere, but, as I have to return in the coming days, my next post will be on that and the rest of this visit. (I often say at the end of my posts that I must return some day, but for reasons that will become apparent next time, I really have to!)