Stockton Bury - the most beautiful of gardens?
I am still basking in the beauty of Stockton Bury, an exquisite farm garden just outside Leominster, where we had a stall at the weekend as part of the 'Country Gardner's Day'. It drips with wisteria and winks with little jokes. The solemnity of a tall stone chimney-like dovecote, damp inside with ferns and sprinkled with light from chinks high up in its roof, somehow doesn't jar with the ribald taste of one of the garden's owners, evident in a naked neptune figurine who admires himself in a mirrored box surrounded by a litter of seashells. The planting is so lovely, the sense of dicovery as we pass from one area of the garden to another is invigorating, and the slight air of hedonism that wafts about - several large cast iron bells mounted in the wall of an old barn ring out unneccessarily with cheery melodies; a pretty and inviting little gazebo place has been painted with Edwardian lady-like botanical pictures; croquet things lie about next to a pile of chintzy cushions on the lawn - is somehow intoxicating. At the weekend, a party atmosphere prevailed.