River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Ashpond House Open Gardens

July 2003

The third and final annual open garden event in aid of Meniere's Society

For the third years running, Claire Smith and her team enjoyed almost perfect weather for their Open Garden event. As in the past, all profits from the sale of the delicious cakes and teas were to be donated to the Meniere's Society. And, once again, what a delightful afternoon? I was amazed at how Claire had managed to bring her garden and pasture to peak condition at just the right time; the flowers were blooming, the shrubs were shrubbing and even the Cochin chickens were strutting. There is an un-substantiated rumour that Claire's mum (Pat) had been drilling the chickens for weeks to ensure they were in peak physical condition for the day!

Seriously though, the gardens really were a picture. During our visit we witnessed literally dozens of people enjoying a leisurely stroll though the various borders all apparently expressing expert knowledge about the shrubs and plants before, like the rest of us, they succumbing to the whiles of the three Brewers (or should that be that be the three tea ladies?) I know of one unsuspecting couple who consumed so many calories at the cake counter that they had to visit Barton Bendish Hall to run off their excess intake.

Sadly, this is the last time that Ashpond House gardens will appear in the schedule of the Norfolk Garden Scheme. We understand the decision, but this event will be a great loss to our social calendar. Perhaps we can persuade Claire to hold some private viewings? After all, where else will I get my unusual specimen plants?

Ray Thompson

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