Hookshouse Pottery and Open Garden, Westonbirt, GloucestershireHookshouse Pottery
Hookshouse National Garden Scheme
When I was organising our holiday to the Cirencester area with my family, I planned for us to spend a day at the Westonbirt Arboretum and also do some family history research at Westonbirt School, as my grandmother had worked there in the late 1920s. I looked up what else was going on in the area and found a National Garden Scheme Open Garden nearby, so when our visit to Westonbirt School was cut short by a film crew taking over the house and grounds, we ignored the rain clouds and made our way over to the garden.
A holiday with my husband, my 70 year old mother, our 7 year old boy and our 18 month old little girl, meant that I had to try and cater for very different interests and as you can imagine it's hard to please them all with the same activity - but somehow our afternoon at Hookshouse garden and pottery fitted the bill exactly! My mother was delighted with the planting and tranquillity of the setting - she could have sat for hours with a book in the summer house; my husband was fascinated with the water feature; I was equally drawn by the stunning garden and the craft and came away with a beautiful glass fish brooch and a pottery cane topper created by the resident potter, which has completed a wigwam for my sweet peas; both children had fun finding the sculptures and other objects hidden about the garden; our daughter said 'flower' for the first time that afternoon (I don't think she'd ever seen so many in one place!) and we spent time with her identifying and naming colours among the plants; our son meanwhile, was initially disappointed and a little bit grumpy when he discovered that the tree house on the garden map was in an area marked 'private' – he was subsequently thrilled when given a personal invitation to take a look! He was very excited (as, I have to say, was his Dad!) and he felt it was a real privilege to go up there - it made it a very special treat! He would not stop talking about it on the way back in the car - in fact when we asked him at the end of the week what had been his favourite part of the holiday, he said without pause or thought...'the tree house!' He even did a show-and-tell and drew a picture of it when he went back to school. Our regret is that we didn't stay to sample the tea and cake; as we left just as the heavens opened - but that only means we will have to come back another year. Our son regretted not being brave enough to climb up to the top of the tree house and so I think we will definitely have to come back so he can do that - otherwise we will never hear the end of it!
In the past, we have been to some open gardens where we rather got the impression the owners would have preferred it if we had left the children in the car...and our children are fairly well behaved (most of the time!), so thanks go to the owners of this garden for welcoming our little party of all ages and being able to capture everyone's interest.
All photographs are the property of Southwick & Fishersgate Horticultural Society – please do not reproduce them without permission.