Commonly spotted – accidental gardening

Scenes from a back garden: The most successful residents of our garden are often the accidentals – a fine flock of aquilegias, which arrived uninvited, for example. The “let’s leave it and see what it grows into” principle has served well. The lace-cap hydrangea and the weigela grew from bits accidentally broken off their parents (bought from garden centres). The parents died off years ago, but the broken bits, just pushed into the soil and well-watered, have flourished. Recently, when cutting the grass (it wouldn’t be right to describe it as a lawn) I spotted (wrong word) some distinctive leaves, just in time – and having managed to protect them from the mower, they’ve thrown up shoots with flower heads – common spotted orchids. Now why couldn’t they have come up in one of the borders?

The Weir

Sunday: We’re travelling through Herefordshire, and need somewhere for a picnic and fresh air. How about the Weir? It’s a National Trust property, consisting of a riverside garden and walled garden on the steep north bank of the Wye, a few miles upstream from Hereford. The riverside garden is attractive in a wild (dare I say unkempt?) kind of way; the walled garden nearby is more traditional, perhaps, with colourful floral displays and rows of veg. Once again, the butterflies are being fairly relaxed…

The Weir NT

Hidcote

A warm Wednesday afternoon at the National Trust’s north Cotswold garden. Its style is described as “Arts and Crafts”, with “colourful and intricately designed outdoor ‘rooms’”. It’s deservedly popular – and clearly on the Cotswold tourist trail (between Stratford, Chipping Campden and Broadway), evidenced by the hundreds of visitors, many from distant corners of the world. They’re not all visible at the same time, of course – it’s easy to lose most of them – and oneself – in the intricate landscape.

Hidcote NT