I've written before about our enthusiasm for visiting gardens that open under the NGS scheme. Recently we had the chance to visit Rotherfield Park, a fascinating estate in Hampshire that we had been to years and years ago to support a friend who was competing in horse trials there. Apparently it was used as one of the locations in Four Weddings and a Funeral though whether that was inside or outside, I'm not sure.
Anyway, it's a fascinating place, full or turrets and towers and follies and hills. We met the owner on the way in and she told my girls that she hoped they would make full use of the potential for trolling down all the hills and banks. Which of course they did.
The gardens. Oh. The gardens. Stunning planting, lots of tulips and topiary and formal and informal parts, and everywhere we went, evidence that the gardener had both a sense of humour and a passion for weaving.
There was an ancient willow throne.
There was a maze woven from hedging plants (I want to say beech but I am not sure). I have no idea how you'd mow it to keep the weeds down; the girls loved it even if they did have to bend double in places.
There were living hazel supports for beans and peas in the vegetable garden, forming corners to the beds.
There were amazing ways of training fruit bushes so they formed their own obelisks.
And there was the most imaginative training of rambling roses I've ever seen - each shoot allowed to form an arch that is then woven down into the rim of a huge rose "bowl". In summer these must be festooned with blooms, and I wish we could go back to see them!
And there were also large expanses of lawn for giving your dad a big hug after he has spun you round and round and round.