‘This is a trip I shall treasure’

6 September 2018

Ranjana visited one of the National Garden Scheme's beautiful gardens as part of Garden and Health Week. She told us all about her visit.

Ranjana in the gardenThe garden at White Cottage is on a corner plot of average size but with clever design and planting it looks big. Wheelchair access is possible from the back, where you are faced with a charming view. In the distance are two sunken cottages at right angles.

From the lawn in front, you are led into an archway on the right, leading to two diverging paths and lawn. Although undulating, it is possible to negotiate around by wheelchair.

Feast for your eyes

This garden is a feast for your eyes because of its diverse planting. Herbs and plants mingle producing scents, colours and textures. I get a thrill seeing fruit trees in a garden but what a surprise to see a small grapevine, with bunches of green grapes hanging off it, along a fence.

Four long bird feeders on a stand in the grass welcome small birds with a constant sound of chirping and fluttering. Sunken beyond the grass, is a rectangle pond, which adds to the serenity of the place. Someone even spied a frog leaping into the pond.

Chicken in White Cottage garden

Looking behind me, I could see a mature tree, with a circular garden seat around its trunk. And from a branch, a hammock!

I was told that this part of the garden was the spring garden, producing a carpet of snowdrops and other spring flowers. Back in the main lawn, in the far left, I noticed chickens in the corner over the fence.

I imagined they belonged to the neighbour, but much to my surprise they belonged to these amazing owners, Alida and John. The remainder of the plot over the fence was a vegetable garden.

For me, it was such a delight to see corn-on-cob, as I had never seen it growing before. Alida told me they have been roasting the corn on their barbecue every evening in this hot summer we have had.

‘I was thrilled by it’

They had planted other vegetables and herbs in neat little rows all labeled, where I spied my favourite herb; Coriander. I was thrilled by it as, being a Kenyan Indian lady, this herb is compulsory in my cooking.

I not only love its taste but also the smell and the crisp sound of it being chopped up! I say 'my cooking' which is done with help now, as my arms are too weak to lift anything due to my Muscular Dystrophy.

I have been living at St Cecilia's Cheshire Home for 20 years. In the last 4 years my main interest has been going over to our flat few hours a week to cook and share meals with my husband.

Ranjana drawing of a plantRanjana drawing of a flower

The trip to White Cottage garden has been extremely inspiring for me in so many ways. It has encouraged me to go out more and visit gardens and to pursue my love of Art. I'm trying simple sketches on my Android phone and am pleased with the results.

Sitting in the garden s is therapy

I have been proud of our garden at St Cecilia's, which has won many awards, but now my head is filled with new ideas for it. Certainly, re-designing, making it more sensory would help more of our Residents here.

Ranjana and her friend in the garden

I think just sitting in the garden with friends is therapy. Absorbing the light, sounds, colours and scents is life giving, inspiring and uplifting.

It strengthens my faith seeing the beauty of nature and its colours. I find an excitement within me seeing fruit grow and watching the wildlife. In our inactivity, we need to see activity in nature.

Creativity and imagination

We, residents, at St Cecilia’s love sharing what we spot in the garden; dragonflies hovering over the pond; this summer, the abundance of white butterflies fluttering around the garden; spying different species of birds, and in the Spring, the delight of a camera bird box, watching nest building, chicks hatching and developing.

Flowers in the National Garden Scheme garden

My visit to White Cottage garden has been truly inspirational. It has given me such a boost and courage to go out more and explore more gardens and places of interest. Plus, it was a delight and a joy to meet the wonderful owners of White Cottage, Alida and John.

I can't thank them enough for their invitation and kind hospitality. What an exhilarating experience it has been, sparking off creativity and imagination!

Since 1927, the National Garden Scheme has been inviting garden owners to open their exceptional gardens to the public, giving people unique access to some of Britain’s most beautiful and memorable gardens while raising money for charity through entry fees, teas and cake.

Comments

This is an inspiring article which brings back fond memories of St Cecilia's garden and the joy it offers to all who live and work there. Sincerest thanks to the volunteers who work tirelessly in caring for this garden

What a beautiful article. I felt like I was sitting in the garden with you and could just imagine all the sights and colours and smells.
I love spending time tending the planters on the Quiet room balcony at St Cecilias. It’s a special place that brings back many memories to me. I hope it brings a little pleasure to everyone at St Cecilias.

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