►Visit to Southwood Lodge

The Garden Group met in Highgate on 10th April at another local garden, Southwood Lodge, which is open to the public under the charitable National Gardens Scheme. Sue Whittington was kind enough to offer us a U3A special guided tour, and answered our many questions about her unusual and wonderful garden. It was a grey day, so the views out from the hill were misty, but despite the weather the garden was a feast of interest.

From the herb bed by the front door with a lovely aromatic lovage plant, through clematis arches, clipped beech and hornbeam hedging, topiary yews, past beds planted with shrubs and burgeoning ground cover bulbs, round ponds full of frog, or perhaps newt spawn, a secret grove, and a stunningly sculpted conifer trunk, it is full of surprises and delights. Being U3A and keen on learning, we asked dozens of questions about the plants and learned the botanical names of everything which caught our eyes, and a lot about cultivating them into the healthy specimens we saw. Just one intriguing idea was a shrub rose, ‘Ferdinand Pichard’, trained to grow in loops to best show off its pink striped flowers – definitely one to return to see at the next NGS Open Day on Sunday 13th May, 2-5.30 p.m. We had a preview of the delicious home made biscuits today, an added attraction, but with plants for sale as well that date is firmly in my diary!]

Photographs © Alison Miller

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