Hastings Old Town Open Gardens

Today, Battleaxe and Philosopher visited some Hastings Old Town Open Gardens, in aid of St Michael’s Hospice.  Yet another bright sunny day…. how do these garden owners manage with their watering? I seem to spend ages outside with the hose, but the ground is incredibly dry…

Hastings Old Town open gardens

Along with Winchelsea, the Old Town gardens are some of our favourites – the views across the valleys, the old walls and the jumbled old roofscapes are nearly as good as the plantings. We’ve been plenty of times before – here is a post from 2016.

 

Philosopher had to drop some things off at the J******d oops sorry Hastings Contemporary – of which more in the next post – so we started in Tackleway. Not as many open here, just a couple of small ones, then we progressed to the High Street.  The highlight here was a really beautiful, and very large garden which turned out to belong to Jo Fairley and Craig Samms (of Green and Black chocolate fame)…. oh look, caught by accident, there is Jo in the middle of her garden.

There is a huge and ancient mulberry tree in the centre of the garden. Visitors were sitting along the prostrate trunks to eat ice-cream – delicious stuff made by a lady I had wanted to employ for Fairlight Hall (heesh, what a day that was. I haven’t written about it either – well, to be frank I have only just recovered…) – but she was busy on the day.  We joined the ice-cream eaters – yum, gooseberry.

 

Just to digress again slightly, when we were in Turkey, Derya, our landlord, employed a tree surgeon to prune and and then graft bits onto his mulberry trees to make them produce larger leaves and no fruit – they would give better shade, and the fallen mulberries attract insect pests.  Who knew such a thing was possible…

Anyway, I spoke briefly to Jo – initially to ask her to identify a wonderfully smelly shrub – it turned out to be lemon verbena – I will try and get one,  because not only did it smell absolutely fantastic but it had beautiful feathery flowers.  I have lemon balm in my herb trough but it was not as good… I knew Jo had been a guest speaker at a NFWI national Annual Meeting in Liverpool a couple of years ago, so cheekily asked her how she would feel about some of our WI women visiting her garden – she said she’d be fine about it.  Here’s a photo of lemon verbena to remind me… googling it up, it turns out to be a tropical plant and very temperamental…. turns out if it doesn’t like the look of you all its leaves drop off….

 

Here are a few more photos:

 

 

Looking at gardens always inspires me. Ours has got far too jungly. I try to follow the Great Dixter approach but it easily turns from artful density to overgrown mess.  As I said above, it is so dry as well. Given that we have now had dry summer for several years, I am going to get a bit ruthless – anything that needs constant watering in dry weather to keep it alive will just have to die out. Only the Strong Survive chez Battleaxe….

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