Ludlow Secret Gardens

PUBLISHED: 18:01 19 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:12 20 February 2013

Ludlow Secret Gardens

Ludlow Secret Gardens

Debbie Graham meets the people who will be revealing their secret gardens to the public this month

Beyond the garden gate

Debbie Graham meets the people who will be revealing their secret gardens to the public this month

Visitors to Ludlow on June 20 can see behind the high walls and gates of around a dozen homes which are open as part of the annual Secret Gardens scheme in aid of the Ludlow Assembly Rooms.

Started in 1990 by Cy Jones, the event is now 21 years old and attracts more than a thousand visitors. Residents in different areas within the town take turns to open their gardens and this year it is the responsibility of The Linney, Corve Street, Broad Street, Mill Street, Dinham and Gravel Hill to keep the standard flying.

Cy says: It has been a delight to search for this years selection and still thrilling to see the diversity of settings, the wonderful borders, ponds, topiary, statuary and chickens.

Who could resist taking a peek behind the Georgian facades or high walls, not only to see horticultural gems or lawns to die for, but the unexpected glimpse of castle, church or river?

And this is what fellow garden owners, Sheilagh and Dennis Bateman love about the event.

People are astounded by what is behind a garden wall or up an entry or through a little gate. People just dont know these places are here, Sheilagh says. They are so well hidden.

Their secret garden at 25 Mill Street is described by Sheilagh as an old English cottage garden. It spans a third of an acre and has three ponds of varying sizes, a vegetable patch and as many of the old fashioned type of plants we can find to put in it.

She adds: I think you have got to be inspired by the big gardens of centuries ago and the big wide open spaces but I grew up in an around the cottage garden and cottage gardens are what I like to see.

Peter and Daphne Phillipss Rhosymedre garden is rather unorthodox, it is not only long and narrow but also sits on a 45 degree slope and has fully tested the couples gardening skills.

They were heavily influenced by their friend the renowned rose-grower Hilda Murrell who loved to use colour and scent in her schemes.

We like our garden to have scented flowers in it and thats what we aim to plant as best we can with our rather unfavourable site, says Daphne.
Opening their garden helps raise funds for the Assembly Rooms which Daphne describes as a beacon of excellence for the arts and social activity in the town.

She adds: Its the great pleasure of learning from others people and sharing a love of plants, comparing notes on what will survive in a garden like this that makes the event special.

David and Val Jackman are revealing their garden, The Orchard, in Linney, for the first time after five years of hard work rescuing it from beneath a four foot layer of brambles and weeds and rubbish.

It is another sloping plot which presented design problems.

The answer was a three-tier garden which includes a small orchard and raised vegetable area, pond, veranda and two pergolas which complement the Edwardian house. The garden is well-equipped for wheelchairs with 260 yards of hard, wide paths that go to every area.

It is a joy to have a garden that provides quality food, year round flowers, ever-changing phases of pond life and wonderful views, and to be able to enjoy a truly working garden that the Edwardians, we hope, would have been proud of, says David.

We just hope that people who do come get a feeling that this is a good place and see what can be done and just enjoy it for what it is.
And surely that has got to be the secret behind the whole event for here are real gardens and real success stories that will inspire anyone, whatever the space and skill.

This years Ludlow Secret Gardens event is sponsored by McCarthy & Stone and the gardens are open from 12pm-6pm. Tea and cakes available from 1-5pm and Mynd Hardy Plants will be selling plants. Secret Gardens books and plants are on sale at various gardens. Ticket/map priced 6 available from Assembly Rooms Box Office and the Visitor Information Centre on Castle Square.

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