Twelve months pass by far too quickly these days and another birthday has been and gone! Thursday last week dawned bright and sunny and the weather forecast promised us a dry and windy day. Having looked at the National Garden Scheme website, we found a garden just over the border into Dorset that sounded rather good, so off we went, having first booked in for lunch near the garden before we left home.
This was the view that greeted us, everything looked so pristine, no weeds to be seen at all, the edges of the lawn were so crisp, not a leaf out of place.
This was the view from the garden while we enjoyed a cup of coffee and lemon drizzle cake! In the distance is Lyme Regis and Lyme Bay, such a beautiful view.
I was most impressed with the huge hostas, not a hole to be seen. Having wandered round the garden twice, it was then time to find where we were having lunch.
What used to be the little fishing village of West Bay, has undergone a makeover and now has an up market marina overlooked by expensive apartments.
We had time for a little walk before lunch, I think they have some serious coastal erosion here, there is a path over the top of the cliff, but now it is worryingly near the edge! I wonder how many dinosaur bones have been found in these cliffs, this is part of the Jurassic Coast after all.
Time for lunch at a seafood restaurant which was on its own little island with a bridge for access. Look at how the flag is flying, there is a hardy couple eating outside, but even though it was lovely and sunny, the wind straight off the sea was quite chilly, so we ate inside. Our meal was absolutely wonderful, fantastic seafood which included Cornish sardines, the size of small trout, hand dived scallops and the fish John Dory, which was so meaty and tasty, a really super birthday lunch!
Celebrations continued on Sunday when our daughter, sil and two grandsons joined us for lunch and more garden visiting! We had lunch first at a riverside pub in Topsham which is on the River Exe. After lunch there was a choice of about 12 gardens that were open to the public, in aid of Topsham Museum which relies totally on volunteers who raise any funds that are necessary. Our sil and grandsons went to the museum to look round while our daughter came with us to look at some of the gardens. This first garden had some really wonderful rambling roses with a perfume to match.
Still in the same garden, a pretty border for silver leaved plants, I think the soil here is extremely well drained!
We then found a very neat and tidy vegetable parterre in the next garden, their broad beans were much better than mine but I noticed that my runner beans were further on than theirs!
This garden also had its rambling roses, they seemed to be very popular in Topsham!
We then found a couple of gardens which had views overlooking the River Exe. Topsham is a popular place for those who sail in little boats. At one time it was a thriving port with large sea clippers arriving to unload their cargoes from around the world. Lots of the captains of these ships came from Holland and when they settled here, built their houses incorporating the Dutch style of architecture. The cotton and wool trade used Topsham, among other ports, to export their wares and the ships came back from Holland with Dutch bricks to build the houses.
The weather which had started out really sunny, was now changing and we felt our first spots of rain while we were here. We had brought our big umbrella, just in case, not thinking we would need it!
What a super oak pod for sitting in and enjoying the view, as well as keeping out of the rain! This was another small garden which overlooked the River Exe.
The planting in the side border was so pretty. According to our daughter, the oak pod comes from John Lewis at a cost of approx £7,ooo!
By now the rain was coming down very heavily, almost of biblical proportions, the forecast had been that we might have a light shower if we were unlucky! We made a dash for shelter and waited until the worst was over, then met up with the rest of the family and made our way home as we were all rather soaked, our one umbrella couldn’t keep 6 of us dry! We were only able to see a few of the gardens that were open, which was such a shame, because all the garden owners had put so much effort into preparing their gardens for their big day. In spite of the rain, the day was a success for the museum as £7,500 was raised.