As the contemplations of Summer grow and the memories of Winter fade, it’s a comforting thought that nature is making plans for a new show to surprise and entertain us. If you’re one of the lucky ones who has a wonderfully kept garden, with neatly trimmed beds, perfectly leveled lawns and an abundance of flowers laying dormant, ready to blume; then you already have your own personal nature show waiting in the wings. For the less fortunate, or in my case, not so enthusiastic gardener, our floral fireworks and leafy explosions may be more like an underfunded B movie; dull, moody, with the odd quirky cult status of that weird plant which seems to spring up each year in the dark corner next to the fence.
So, do you stare longingly at the wreck that is your own garden and wish the horticultural fairies would one night visit, leaving you with a wonderful masterpiece the next morning; do you convince yourself that by your hard work and design the wild and unkempt look somehow gives it a prestigious status of a ‘cottage garden’; do you gaze through the upstairs window at your neighbour’s garden and wish that it would overflow into yours, transforming it in to something more wonderous; or do you simply accept that gardening is not one of your greater skills and go out to look at someone else’s? I’m more on the practical side of life, if I can’t change the view from my window, then I change my point of view.
Literally two minutes walk from where we live, is a fabulous house, recently renovated and well-kept. It’s not a stately home as such, more a large town house structure, sat in the surroundings of a large open park and enclosed at the back by a picturesque garden. This garden is what you dream your garden would look like, if you’re like me, and just don’t seem to have the time or skills to create such a layout. There’s a structured framework of arbour and trellis radiating out from the centre of the garden, which is defined by a small, circular, modern pool. Superb pieces of topiary are well place around the whole of the grounds, with structured beds of roses and a multitude other plants and fruit trees that I couldn’t even attempt to name, but simply appreciate the esthetics of. If your ideal scenario is sitting back, enveloped in this kind of vista, then there are also a number of rustic wooden benches you can recline on, giving you a well-rounded view of the garden from most angles.
The Shakespeare garden at Lightwoods House is certainly one of those hidden gems that you don’t even realise exists until you push open the crafted, stainless steel gate and walk through the archway into the walled garden. Well worth a visit if you’re either in Bearwood or travelling through the area. While you’re there, why not relax and take in a spot of breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or just a light snack at the well-respected ‘Johnathans in the park‘. There are plenty of tables in the garden where you can sit, eat and take in the wonderful surroundings.
Don’t forget, the world extends a lot further than your garden, whether you own your own miniature Capability Brown or not so capable grass-covered square of land, you never know what’s just round the corner. Take a few steps and see what you can find.