Imagine a house overlooking a wonderful lake and a garden full of surprises - this is what you'll find at Little Wantley in Sussex if you visit this weekend. It's a little piece of heaven - brainchild of the late Hilary Barnes, who died last year - created over the last two decades and now a peaceful oasis, complete with rowing boat for the family to use. But it's also provided a wonderful canvas and allowed the owners to plant a range of water-loving plants that couldn't flourish without it.
Everywhere you turn in this 4.5 acre garden, you'll find something different, like the rope walk (above) flanked by glorious borders brimming with perennials and roses, leading up to the pergola; and the Stumpery (below), made up of old roots of oak and chestnut, which took four years to collect. And as Hilary once said: "We were stumped on how to begin ... so we lifted the largest roots into place to form the base and then fitted the other pieces into position, like a jigsaw puzzle."
Everywhere you turn there is another charming vista, like the flower garden below - bursting with colour; a secret garden accessed through a pergola; a cantilevered jetty with its own pergola; and glorious views over the lake, which incorporates two islands. This garden is a masterpiece, and although Hilary once said: "Opening your garden is like baring you soul!", this is definitely one to visit this weekend, because it's the last chance you'll have to see it.
Little Wantley opens for the NGS for the last time this weekend - on Saturday, June 20th - from 14.00 - 17.30. Admission £5.00. Do get there if you can. And for other open gardens, you can use the NGS garden finder to see what there is on offer in your area.