A village gardens open scheme is a great way to take in several gardens in one afternoon, whilst enjoying a glimpse into the backyards of houses not usually open to the public.
Shere, near Guildford in Surrey is far from your typical Surrey stereotypical dormitory, since much of the village is still owned by the local manor and despite infill development manages to retain a certain quaint charm without being too ‘chocolate-box’.
On Sunday 23rd June, Shere opened its garden gates once again for the 38th year. With local charities benefiting from all monies raised, it is a well supported local scheme and very popular, as the number of visitors will testify.
Approximately 25 gardens were open this year with additional floral displays in the church and adorning the shops along the route. Pimms was served in the ‘pound’ beside the stream whilst people queued for home-made teas in the village hall.
Varied is a word used to describe the gardens in Shere. From the grand lake and surrounding garden at Netley Old Mill, with treehouse, weir and gravelled Italianate area beside the house to the tiny Old Bakehouse, a perfect knot garden and plantsman’s paradise, there was something for everyone. Elsewhere, allotments, tiny back yards and expansive lawns were aplenty.
Considering Shere open gardens was started in 1978 to raise money for the village hall roof, it has come a long way since its humble beginnings.