During Chelsea Flower show week, the sponsors, M&G investments, ran a competition where you could submit photos of your ‘little garden’. I won one of the prizes: a voucher for two to one of four RHS gardens. The nearest one to us was “Hyde Hall”:https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/hyde-hall, just outside Chelmsford.
On arrival, we fortified ourselves with coffee and a scone in a huge, light and airy café with a very high ceiling (there’s also outdoor seating on a terrace). It was a lovely place and although it was self-service, if you ordered hot breakfast items, they were brought freshly cooked to your table.
If we’d not had our vouchers, the entrance fee (without RHS membership) would have been a whopping £12.10 each. The lady at the ticket desk provided a free garden map and helpfully pointed out what she thought were some of the most interesting areas. We also learned that the café, adjoining shop and entrance are all very new and that another restaurant is being constructed near the existing one.
We started with the dry garden where the plants are not watered at all and many self-propagate. We found this very interesting as we run a community gardening project in our residents’ association and getting people to water is always difficult, so we identified plants which we might be able to use. The area is up a bit of a hill and you can either follow the path or walk along the grass which with all the wet weather we’ve been having was very lush and green, but fortunately dry. The views over the Essex countryside are lovely and the skies were perfect with layers of cloud.
We then spent a couple of hours just wandering around the various areas and admiring the well-labelled plants. The vegetable area had a lovely tardis-shaped greenhouse and a great display of vegetables which hopefully they use in the restaurant.
We also saw the existing thatched barn restaurant which was very small and dark inside and it’s easy to understand why they’re building a new place. However, because if was the school holidays, many families were taking advantage of having picnics.
We finished back in the shop buying a couple of small presents for neighbours and sharing a sandwich before we left. By this stage it was late lunch and hot snacks, including monster jacket potatoes with various fillings were available.
We thoroughly enjoyed our day, and it gave me the perfect opportunity to test out some of the knowledge I’ve recently acquired on a photography course so I hope you like my photographs. And finally, if you’d like to see my prize-winning garden, I’ve included the photo.