As we wended our way to Parham in the middle of a gorgeous heatwave, the driver decided to take the scenic route, he had been sitting in traffic jams on the M25 all week, so decided to go the country way. I must say, it made a change, and was definitely better than sitting on the motorway breathing all the fumes. My son and his family live in Brighton, so I got to see all the pretty little villages I had only seen the signposts for previously. It made a good start to the day and only added a short time to the journey.
We were the only coach there, so it was not too crowded, there were just enough people to make it interesting and create an atmosphere. The house was lovely. It was divided into two sections, one part for the family living there, and the other open to the public. We were not allowed to take photos, so I'm afraid I couldn't get any from the interior (being a good law-abiding citizen)! However, here is the outside:
There were lots of stalls selling plants and sundries, the local Scout troupe were doing a roaring trade, ferrying the purchases to peoples' cars. They also had a plant creche so plants could be left there for people to collect at the end of the day.
|A loaded trolley to be transported to a car.|
The Scout band was playing music throughout the day, alternating with another local band, they were both really good and added to the atmosphere.
Here are some of the plants that were for sale:
|Erygngium 'Sapphire Blue"|
|Delphinium "Coral Sunset".|
|Albizia julibrissin "Silk Tree".|
This looks a bit like a fern when it is small, and will take about 2 years to flower. It is hardy down to minus 15, the label says. Unfortunately, the mother plant was not for sale, but I did buy a baby.
Although not obvious in the photo, this grass had a lovely red tinge to the feathery seed heads, most attractive. It self seeds as well, so I thought it would be a good buy.
There were hoards more plants and sundries, too many to show here, so it made for a very interesting day. The marque did a roaring trade in lunches , snacks and drinks and there were also various exotic burger stalls.
|Lt. to Rt: Anne B, Annabell, Susie & Kathy.|
After an initial walk around, members headed for a shady spot and some refreshments.
The house had the largest walled garden I have ever seen, it was huge. Part of the garden is undergoing a change of use, from the area where the compost and leaf bins used to be stored, to growing squashes & marrows. This was accomplished by clearing old logs and perennial weeds then bringing in two Tamworth pigs to clear the area, all for regular cabbage and apples! The fruits will be harvested in September, leaving the ground fertile & weed free. The aim is to grow more spring flowering bulbs to increase bio-diversity.
In another part of the garden were these water lilies growing under a grating, they looked most effective.
There was a small church in the grounds which was serving refreshments, there was also a raffle in aid of the church funds. When I first went in I noticed heads poking out of the gated pews, and thought people were praying, but it turned out that the pews were being used as an extension to the cafe, and they were actually consuming tea and cakes!
By now the day was drawing to a close and we all wended our way back to the coach to load our purchases into the luggage compartment. We went back via the scenic route again, as there was yet more trouble on the M25. No wonder it is known as "The biggest car park in Britain!"