Thursday, 27 July 2017

Parham Garden Weekend

A little over one year ago I visited Parham House and Gardens at the invitation of the Head Gardener, Tom Brown.  I had the most wonderful day and I thought the gardens were rather special and knew that when I got the chance I would visit again.  I was therefore delighted to receive an invitation to attend the annual Parham Garden Weekend that happens in July.  I set off happily southwards.

The Garden Weekend is a longstanding event and this was its 24th year.  As I drove towards Parham I began to realise what a big event it is.  It felt like all cars were heading to Parham.  The parking was organised well and I was soon directed to where I had to park.  I had the itinerary for the day and there were a series of talks being held in the large marquee.
I made my way to the marquee as I wanted to catch the Gardeners' Question Time which involved Jim Buttress (ex-Royal Park Keeper, TV/Radio Presenter plus much more) , Tom Brown (Head Gardener at Parham) and Steve Edney (Head Gardener at The Salutation).  It was very informative and also entertaining.  There are few things as enjoyable as listening to gardeners sharing their knowledge.
Regular readers will know that I am growing the flowers for my daughter's wedding this year.  There was no way I would miss Sarah Raven's talk about creating bouquets.  It was really interesting and I took lots of notes.  Sarah makes it sound so easy so I came away feeling more confident about the project.

I then made my way to the plant stalls.  There was a fantastic selection of stalls, a proper plantperson's fair that focuses on the plants most of all.  I did my usual careful walk around the fair to get my bearings and see which plants would catch my eye.  The choice was eclectic and of quality.  Nurseries represented included Edulis, Nymans and Withypitts Dahlias.
There were also plenty of stalls to get food, a very find local vineyard, Stopham Vineyard (I had a glass of their wine at lunchtime, it was very good) and of course lots of ice cream.  It was a warm day and ice cream was needed.

Of course I made sure that I could wander around the gardens, they were looking absolutely wonderful.
I spent some time just sitting in the Rose Garden.  I found the bench where I had sat last year and sat again for a while just enjoying the scent and the sounds of happy people exploring the gardens.  There are many benches in the gardens but this is my favourite.  I can sit here, have a nice cold drink bought from the nursery shop and decide which direction I am going to explore first.





I was bowled over by how good the gardens were looking.  I had enjoyed discovering them last year and had thought then that they were impressive, but this year it feels like they have upped their game even more.
I was stopped in my tracks by the White Border; which are words I rarely say.  A good white border is a difficult thing to achieve; most are, well, just white.  This one works and works well.


I enjoyed re-exploring the grounds.  Re-visiting a good garden is always a pleasure.  Seeing what has changed and what has not......
and also seeing what are being trialled this year.  This year it is dahlias, gladioli and zinnias.  Three of my favourite flowers so I am hoping I can get back there in a few weeks to see them at their peak.  I left Parham thinking about the gardens and thinking that they really are very special.  They are superbly maintained by Tom and his team and I think they have created a garden that has real heart.  Parham is firmly established on my list of favourite gardens to visit.

I have to thank Lady Emma and Tom for inviting me to return to Parham and for the very pleasant lunch where I met some lovely people.

I wended my way back to where I was staying for the weekend
and had the most wonderful dinner overlooking the sea at Bognor.  Happy memories of made of such days.

2 comments :

  1. Thanks for posting this review, your enthusiasm is palpable, I've never visited Parham, this article encourages me to try to get to it, though it's a 3 hour drive from here.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks:) it's a good 3 hours from here too, I tend to make a weekend of it & stay near by

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