Doing a Chinon

In a completely different context, John mentioned the whole sorry Chinon episode on Saturday and, today, the same sort of thing happened to us. I guess we’ve just been to too many places and the memory of some has been pushed so far back that they’ve been obscured by dust and wallpaper paste. This seems to be very much the case when it comes to gardens.

Today we went to Alresford in order to visit Weir House. Of course I managed to get the location completely wrong and we were forced to wander along the Riverside Walk before heading back to the Fulling Mill and taking the correct road. But, we found it and Mirinda, full of the delight that replaced her irritation, snapped a photo of the house.

Many years ago – in 2003 to be exact – we went to a garden with Farelli. I remember the occasion very well but possibly the main thing I remember is her lying in a raised mound of grass covered man-made hillock the centre of which had been hollowed out into a sort of sun worshipper’s delight.

Farelli in the mound

There was also a delightfully wild water meadow alongside an actual river but I’d forgotten that bit until today. And the reason I remembered it today is because we, unknowingly, returned.

As we approached the beginning of the massive garden – the veg bit – we both emphatically stated we’d never been before. This was reiterated when we walked through the full moon tunnel. I mean, seriously, how could we have forgotten this:

But we had. Still, we followed the signs for Tea and, after having a cup outside the huge entertaining area which, along with a massive dining area complete with kitchen, toilets, an in-ground swimming pool and tennis court, we kept being amazed at the various areas of Weir House garden that we swore we’d never seen before.

Then, on the opposite bank of the river, we saw it. The tiny hill I mentioned earlier. The tiny hill which had contained a somewhat scowly Farelli once a long time ago. To document the fact, Mirinda decided to pose like a Shakespearean actor declaiming the lack of sunshine.

Sun, sun, wherefore art thou sun?

What Mirinda (and I) had completely forgotten is that it was not only Farelli who posed in it back in 2003 as this photo proves:

Anyway, moving right along…here is how Weir House is described on the Country Gardener website:

This spectacular riverside garden, owned by Mr and Mrs G Hollingbery, has a sweeping lawn backed by old walls, yew buttresses and mixed perennial beds. The contemporary vegetable and cut flower garden is at its height in September. There’s also a newly designed garden around the pool area, a bog garden and wilder walkways through wooded areas. Children can use the playground at their own risk.

Country Gardener:

Mr and/or Mrs Hollingbery must love gardening. By the looks of their garden they must never stop or, as I overheard a fellow admirer walking around comment, perhaps they have a team of gardeners on hand, day and night. Whatever the case, it is stunningly beautiful and biscuit tin idyllic. Definitely a must see for NGS enthusiasts like us.

A marvellous yew with a bench around the base

I feel we haven’t visited an NGS garden for yonks. It was lovely.

Just in closing…the small sign in front of the mound that can be seen in the photo of Mirinda from 2003 above is no longer there. However, through the magic of Photoshop, here it is:

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