NGS Styvechale Coventry

Another year and another visit to this group of gardens dotted around south Coventry in the West Midlands - this is where I spent most of my youth.  As I walked the streets again in the sunshine I remembered that ill-fitting school blazer (that I never quite grew into despite the promises) those gold aviator glasses and that Beatles haircut that collectively formed the introverted geek-look I was going for.  

Retracing my steps around familiar streets it felt odd to be entering gardens hidden from my view for so many years.  I found myself wondering if these spaces always looked this manicured or has this love of gardening come with retirement.

Last year when we visited we brought the car and went to those gardens surrounded by woodland on the very outskirts of the area.  Sadly this year we stayed in the central vicinity missing out my favourite space in this group of gardens altogether.  We were also disappointed to see Wilf's gorgeous rose and vegetable garden not open and another listed on the NGS website closed for a second consecutive year.  However, as all donations go to the Myton Hospice its all good. 

These gardens are well-loved, well-used spaces, the little patches of weeds here and there added to our enjoyment making them feel obtainable to us mere mortals at the beginning of our gardening journey.

One of the gardens had won a recent award from a newspaper, the owners proudly displaying the blue plaque amongst the sunny flower-beds.  This was a surprisingly small garden in comparison to the size of the property, but nonetheless impressive with a good balance of texture and movement.  The view back to the house from the other end of the garden shown below.  

The owners were grateful for the interest we showed them.  We chatted about a recent loss due to the hard frost and the slight redirection of a pathway to maintain accessibility up the sloped space.  The large birch and seating beneath the perfect spot to relax in the dappled shade and soak up the sights, sounds and scents.  We had much praise for this garden, an oasis in this quiet road a short distance from the busy A45.  

In  throw-back to a visit to the Musée de l'Orangerie a spectacular garden fish-pond was a surprising and welcome find at the end of a long and narrow garden.

So beautiful on this hot day that it was a challenge in itself to hold back the urge to dive in.


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