Last weekend we travelled to Somerset to celebrate a good friend’s wedding. All was well, the weather perfect, the bride and groom radiant, we made new friends and I almost won the All Badgeworth Freestyle Croquet Doubles competition (we was robbed). It was an extremely satisfying day. The party was held in the Just Married’s vast garden with views across the flatlands to the monumental Crooks Peak, on the Mendip Hills. They moved in barely three months ago. Their new horticultural project is at present little more than a field girdled with trees including apple, cherry, and walnut. At the far end they have installed their bees and plan meadows and wild areas to keep their livestock happy. These busy chaps contributed to the celebrations by donating a pot of honey to each guest. I found the prospect of the newly weds creating a garden together from scratch an extremely romantic notion, the result being a happy amalgam of them both. It will undoubtedly be a very happy place.
We stayed the night a few miles away with our ex-neighbours, affectionately known as The Swotties. Even though they left for a caravaning adventure a couple of hours after our arrival we were welcomed and warmly embraced as always. They live in a ridiculously beautiful farmhouse surrounded by gardens which are as chaotic and clever as their creators. Strange squat chickens and pompous cockerels parade, fig leaved hollyhocks stand sentry at random points, roses tumble, geraniums spill, wildflowers intermingle, of course there is wisteria and an orchard and in the vegetable garden leeks are allowed to seed because they look good. The house is full of objet trouvé and love. Each room has various vases of harvested blooms slowly dropping petals and pollen to the surfaces below in a dignity of decay. Created from the bones of another time, this ancient house has been transformed into an enviable home and garden. In fact if they weren’t such lovely folk you might growl a little when you considered this idyll, or even plan a well placed pinch or two.
The peach tree was a wedding gift to The Swotties, only a couple of years ago. This year it has a dozen or more velvety fruit. Just peachy.