Tuesday, 12 August 2008
In Praise of Other People's Gardens
I love others' gardens. I don't necessarily mean gardens of friends, which can be lovely, but can also be as small and boring as mine with stress-inducing elements like ponds or no fences.
No, the kind of gardens I'm talking about are the ones that are open to the public and therefore usually interesting and large, or at least a lot more interesting and large than mine. Like the secret garden in town or one up the road which is fortuitously maintained by others and not me, meaning I can really enjoy it.
This entails my children and me revelling in the stunning views, wide open spaces, immaculate lawns more or less whenever we like (as long as it coincides with opening hours Sunday to Thursday). And because we have membership it feels like we are doing something wholesome and good for free.
Heeding the weather forecasts, which were predicting rain for the rest of the week, and being in charge of a very energetic two-year-old who'd spent much of the day before strapped in various seats, we set off to "our" garden up the road.
Oh, it was blissful and I'm at a loss as to why we don't do it more often. There was even a place to buy coffee (bliss - coffee and a beautiful garden!). I think the children found it pretty blissful too; chocolate cake and apple juice, plenty of space for cartwheels and headstands, sheep to gaze at, hills to roll down plus various balls and bats to facilitate lots of games.
There was enough to please all of us from the two-year-old through to the 38-year-old which, in my experience, is pretty unusual and the hallmark, for me, of a great place.