Sunday, June 6, 2010

Secret Gardens of St Pierre Du Bois

Yesterday afternoon we headed down to St Pierre Du Bois for the Secret Garden tour. It began at 2.00pm and continued on until 5.00pm.

We arrived bang on 2.00pm in order to secure a park. Parking in Guernsey is always at a premium. This is St Pierre Du Bois Church.

I am glad we did arrive on time as there were 19 gardens to explore along the picturesque lanes of this beautiful parish. Don't get me wrong; I do love where we live but the chocolate box appeal of the a 'country' parish, as opposed to a seaside parish, is hard to ignore.

We managed to see 17 of the 19 gardens on display. The Bumble Bee'rs did very well considering we walked for two hours and forty minutes. The entry fee was £6.00 for adult and children were free. The first garden was that of the Rectory of St Pierre du Bois church. The photo above is on the way to the Rectory, not the Rectory itself.

It was a perfect Guernsey summer's day; clear, blue skies, 19*C and a cool breeze.

This photo and the one above were taken in Maison de La Cure. It is owned by Mrs Diana Meldrum. This garden was once part of the original Rectory Garden.

The next six photos are from the 'Le Chemin du Tresor', which is Guernsey French for 'Walk on Church Land'.
You may enter the meadow from the cemetery. There is another entrance at the other end but if you are visiting Guernsey and would like to go for a wander this is the easiest way to find entry to the meadow.
It is open to the public on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from noon until 6.00pm.
The paths follow the douit (stream) and pass the living willow bird hide (pictured below).
La Societe Guernesaise are working in conjunction with the Floral St Peter's Group to protect the large variety of plant life which grows in the meadow and to try to encourage the wildlife to move in.

St Pierre Du Bois means St Peter in the Wood. I should probably explain this as many people on the island refer to it as St Peter's which is different from the capital of the island, St Peter Port.

This seems to be a popular garden ornament in Guern gardens, the Granite Mushroom, made from local stone. I believe the story goes that it is a 'witches seat' and that by offering a witch a place to sit she may not decide to enter/hex/curse your home. Well, everyone likes a good sit down now and again!

This is the entry into Les Reveaux, owned by Mr and Mrs Brian Livesey. The owners greeted us when we enter their fabulous garden, as did their dog, Poppy, much to the Bumble Bee'rs delight.
This really was a hidden garden, as from the road it looked to be a fairly average sized plot, but once you passed through the climbing hydrangeas and red roses on the gate the true size of it was revealed.

This is their lovely glasshouse. It is very popular in Guernsey to have a glasshouse; I think it stems from the tomato and cut flower industry of a few decades ago. We have one but it is certainly not as palatial as this one, mores the pity.

In Queensland home gardeners do not seem to be plagued by pesky birds stealing their fruit as much as Guernsey gardeners do. They will fight for their fruit as this construction clearly shows.

This garden ornament was found in Granville, garden number 10. I love bicycles used in gardens. I am always on the lookout for one to use in my vegetable patch for the peas to grow up.
Unfortunately Le Douit Beuval, number 11, was not open to the public on the day; however they had moved the younger members of their goat herd down to one of their roadside paddocks so the kids could look at the kids :) This small holding has the largest herd of Guernsey Golden Goats (try saying that ten times fast) on the island. They sell goat milk and cheese from their home.
The next three photos are taken in the garden of Mr and Mrs Paul Winter, Le Beuval. The rhododendrons were truly spectacular.

Mr Bee was very impressed with their BBQ area; talk about grilling in style.

One of the paddocks of Le Douit Beuval was open further up the road. The Bumble Bee'rs were so excited that they got to pat this sweet little fellow.

Throughout the Guernsey countryside you will come across steps such as these running up the walls which make up the sides of the road. Steps to no-where. I would love to know where they used to take you to.

This is the National Trust water mill found opposite garden number 17, the Granary walk.

The next three photos are from the charming garden of Mr and Mrs James Bridges, Moulin de Becquet. It was my favourite garden on the day. Whilst it was only quite small it had such huge appeal. I spoke to the owners and they told me they fully renovated the cottage six years ago and it has taken them five of those years to get the garden up to this standard.

This is Evison's meadows, Rue des Vinaires. They displayed a large collection of haymaking, tractors, vintage farm and garden implements. Some of the demonstrators even dressed in traditional Guern attire.

These were just a few random shots of plants and flowers that caught my eye.

And how did we reward the Bumble Bee'rs for not whinging was we dragged them around gardens for over two and a half hours? Chocolate cake on the Rectory Green of course!

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