I’m very keen on visiting gardens, though not at all keen on gardening. It’s much more appealing to admire the fruits of other people’s labours. My interest in gardens (and above all, garden design) lay behind the idea of the mysterious garden at Tarn Cottage in my Lake District Mysteries – the secret behind the garden is a puzzle posed in The Coffin Trail and unravelled in The Cipher Garden.
Although last Sunday was primarily devoted to a hospital visit, I also fitted in a trip around a nearby garden, under the auspices of the National Garden Scheme. Under the Scheme, every Sunday in summer (and on a few other days) private gardens are opened for charity, and this affords a wonderful opportunity to benefit good causes and show off some remarkable labours of love. Cheshire is blessed with countless attractive gardens, although only a minority of them are well known.
The garden at Haughton Hall, near Nantwich, struck me as very impressive and there was a sort of ‘Agatha Christie’ feel to the setting – a rather grand house, which has been in the same family for at least half a century, with rolling lawns, a magnificent glass house and a lake with a bridge. You could easily imagine it as a setting for a delicious whodunit, and on a sunny afternoon, it was the perfect place to be.