Outing to The Old Vicarage


It was an unpromising start to the Society’s morning visit to the National Garden Scheme gardens of The Old Vicarage in Washington but resulted in a visit to remember.  Although arriving in rain we were ushered into a large conservatory to enjoy a drink and a large slice of cake and this was a joy in itself as it overlooked an immaculate lawn surrounded by the most colourful herbaceous borders.  By the time we were ready to emerge back into the garden to roam at leisure the rain had stopped and the magical tour began.

The Vicarage being in a elevated position, as we moved around the side of the house we were treated to a grand view across the countryside.  The vast sloping lawn was bisected with flower beds into which were set cocooned seating areas facing back to the house.  After admiring the many different species of plants we moved further down the gentle slope towards a newly built Italianate garden house amongst flowers and enclosed by an intricate low wall of rounded flat stones.  Further on was a very pretty formal pond nestled into the slope, again surrounded by flowers but unseen from the upper lawn. There was so much to look at it took time to reach the Japanese garden which was an oriental delight with great attention to detail filled with acers and mossy stones and tea house creating a calm and peaceful place.  Close by was a wooded area with a marked pathway through a willow ‘maze’ and past some modern sculpture looking perfectly at home.  In the wood was an inspired tree house constructed from logs and raised up on wooden tree trunks.  The steps up led into the cosy room complete with its own wood burner for those colder days. Enhancing the atmosphere were stained glass windows depicting the colourful bugs that inhabit the gardens.  The attached balcony gave a raised and widened view of the woods including a giant artificial cobweb between three trees (thankfully no spider)!  On the back steps out of the tree house and in the darkest corner hung a skeleton!  Walking back towards the house there was a further lawn area with flowering borders.

There were far too many plants to name names but suffice to say a great deal of thought, clever ideas and humour really did make this a memorable visit and I for one will definitely be visiting again.

Report by Christine Dunham, Outings Organiser