Open Garden Village

Every year, Chawton village opens up a lot of its gardens to the public. We go when we can. Given it’s where Mirinda goes for her book group once a month, she feels like a bit of a local.

This year, as well as the gardens, they had a scarecrow competition. We were told by the parking attendant (who made the one below) to look out for them as some were hiding in doorways of houses. As it was, we only saw three…but then, we weren’t there for the scarecrows. We wanted to see the gardens.

Mirinda and a local

Mirinda and a local

Because Chris had been working in the garden all morning, we didn’t leave until about 3pm so we didn’t visit all of the gardens. As a side note, Chris and his newest worker strimmed, de-turfed, flattened out and bark chipped the area beside the end of the office. Originally quoting two days, Chris managed it in almost half a day. The area is now much improved. Emma was particularly impressed, indicated by her need to chew on bits of the bark.

So we were late getting into Max and heading for Jane’s village.

The day hadn’t started very pleasant, being all grey and miserable (though no rain, thankfully, something Chris was quite pleased about) but by the time we reached Chawton, it had brightened up considerably.

My favourite part of the day wasn’t any of the gardens. It was the Morris Dancers holding up traffic outside Jane Austen’s house.


They were terrific fun, especially given how they held up the traffic every time they performed. They’d take over the street and the cars (and small train engine) would have to wait for the dance to finish. It was jolly good fun with lots of cheerful music, stick bashing and woops of joy. We do love a good Morris display.

The gardens we saw were all lovely (special mention must go to the courtyard garden at St Clement’s which shows how much restful beauty can be achieved with very little space) though we were rather disappointed by Eastfield Farmhouse. A new garden, it was just outside the town sign and up a very long gravel drive. At the end of the drive, we found it impossible to find the actual garden. And it wasn’t just us. Quite a few other people were somewhat mystified as well. Another sign at the top of the drive would have been helpful.

As well as the gardens and the scarecrows, the wonderful tea and cake in the village hall, the Morris dancers, there was also a horse drawn buggy for the footsore and this wonderful little engine. It was very cute, though the driver could have looked a bit more cheerful.


It was soon time to leave (I had to make honey jumbles for Mirinda) so we reclaimed Max and set off via the cottage for home.

Visiting gardens may seem a bit tame but it’s a lovely way to wile away an afternoon.


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1 Response to Open Garden Village

  1. Mum says:

    I love the Morris dancing as well,actually I love all dancing as you know,and looking at the gardens can be fun as well gives you ideas for your own,love the scarecrow.
    love mum xx

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