A beautifully sunny and extremely hot Sunday set the scene for a day of total indulgence for me – Boxford Village Open Gardens followed by a visit to the nearby Leaven Hall in Leavenheath.
The prospect of visiting the gardens of Boxford filled me with excitement and enthusiasm, although I knew that I would be restricted in the number of gardens that I could fit in to my limited time frame. I therefore decided to choose those closest to the centre of this picturesque Suffolk village …
There was a vast array of wonderful gardens to choose from – I only managed to visit 5 out of the 21 shown in the leaflet ! I took my time in each one, especially my 3 favourites, so that I could really concentrate on getting some special images – rather than rushing around madly with the photography suffering as a result.
The weather, albeit gorgeous, was not presenting the best lighting conditions for close-up flower photography, so it was necessary to choose plants in dappled sunlight or shade wherever possible. It was also scorchingly hot and I therefore moved slowly and tried to keep in the shade as much as I could.
Here is my gallery of images from each of my Top 3 Gardens …
Garden 17 – Swan Street
My choice for ‘garden of the day’ – with lots of my favourite plants in – including the wonderful Nectaroscordum siculum. The bright sunlight meant that I could not really do the beauty of this garden justice. Luckily, the owner had a shady area near to his house, where he kept his wonderful collection of container-grown Hosta …
Weavers House, Swan Street
The second fascinating garden that I visited was that of a truly dedicated plantswoman, named Maggie Thorpe, who is president of the Suffolk Plant Heritage group. Her garden was full of unusual varieties and she was happily explaining about them all to her many visitors. The garden was a wonderful sun trap with little space for me to set up my tripod – so unfortunately I only have photos of the one flower that really caught my eye… It was a beautiful lemon-yellow Aquilegia longifolia – with its graceful spurs lending it an angelic quality.
My final featured garden was the last one I visited that morning. It was leafy, cool and peaceful with a stream running along one side. The planting here was different to the other two, with many shade-loving species. It was easier to photograph here with the light filtered and softened by the trees.
Despite not normally being a great fan of shade-loving plants, I was quite taken by the Brunnera, with its flowers so like Forget-me-nots, that I originally believed that the latter were growing through the perennial forming a perfect partnership with the cream and green leaves.
The other plant combinations that caught my eye were the bold and spiky Allium cristophii surrounded by the frothy yellow and lime-green flowers and soft olive leaves of Alchemilla mollis – and a beautiful soft pink peony set off against the dark-purple leaves of a Sambucus nigra or ornamental Elder.
Sad to be leaving Boxford with so many wonderful gardens unexplored, I nevertheless decided that I had done remarkably well in choosing such a superb small selection of plant havens. I certainly hope that my images convey the beauty that I found there.
Next year I will be a guaranteed visitor to Boxford Village on Open Garden Day 2017, with the mission to explore all of the gardens and take many more images ..!