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After we left the Barretts, Kel and I then called on Caroline and Clive Richards at their home, Partridge House, raised up on the high bank overlooking Edge Green, with a stunning, all-year round view over the fields to Painswick Church. Often, there are sheep and, at this time of year, lambs to be seen in the field. This was the smallest garden selected, elegantly bijou, tucked behind the Commodious Capel and altogether delightful in its composition. Caroline told us that she doesn’t care much for reds in their garden. Instead, she cultivates a restrained, tonally sympathetic mixture of blues, purples, green and bronze, with white highlights. There was a fine example of Rosa ‘Clare Austin’, a fragrant, creamy climber, plus a big pink rose ‘Mme. Caroline Testout’ and a yellow rambler ‘Malvern Hill’. She has also cultivated a lot of brightly coloured lupins, white and dark blue irises and a glorious fuchsia for contrast. Unfortunately, the lack of rain at the time had reduced the size of Caroline’s delphiniums which, as I have seen in previous years, have been magnificent. However, the dry weather had seemed to favour a superb yellow Rosa ‘Graham Thomas’ and giant scabious ‘Cephalaria Gigantia’ which follow the sun.
At the foot of the garden, there is a small, but well-developed vegetable garden, plus a much used greenhouse. However, the secret surprise at Partridge House is an amazingly natural looking garden pond behind, complete with tinkling waterfall, goldfish, frogs and tadpoles, white cistus and water lilies – a feature which Caroline had dug out and developed herself, from a bit of a slope covered initially with a mass of building rubble left behind from earlier construction work on the house. The visit ended with a photograph of Caroline holding her favourite hoe.
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