This is a photo-less post I'm afraid. And for good reason too...
Mincher is a garden of National Significance located not far from me. It is always getting big write-ups in garden and lifestyle magazines. I have been busting a gut trying to visit it!
Over the Christmas break I took my family to see it. My elderly father, mum, Ian, and the kids. I just couldn't wait! The oldest part of the garden is only 16 years old - it was a market gardens and orchard in a past life. It is described as a large, rambling, semi-formal country garden with formal elements, extensive ponds, and a bushland area. It is 12 acreas of well-tended garden - I couldn't wait!
The drive in was impressive - a massively wide sealed highway lined with mature chestnuts and stripy lawns. Unexpectedly we were given a golf cart for my Dad to drive. What a generous and kind thing to do! The kids and their grandad had a ball tootling all over MIncher in their cart. I guess therein lies a clue - the fact that you could drive all through the garden in a biggish golf cart... intimate, this garden is not.
We walked and walked and walked. There were many huge ponds lined with the same plants as the one before. There were dozens of lawned areas all striped and weed-free. The paths were miles and miles of uncompromising, small-gauge grey grit, same width, same colour. There was a round area encircled by tall clipped Hornbeams with a narrowish winding alley that came off it, all done in the same dark green Hornbeams. But what was the point? There was nothing in the circular area, no seats or fountain or art, and the alley (divine though it was) did not take you anywhere. You emerged straight onto yet another stretch of crunchy grey grit across yet another immaculate lawn...
The best bits were the cottage garden area that engulfed the 'Gardener's Cottage' a twee, brick, pseudo-cute dwelling. Too new, and overly large and tidy to be quaint but beautifully made with very nice embellishments and attention to detail. The garden had completely run amok. It was a shambles of cottagey loveliness, smelly old roses clambered up walls, lupins, delphiniums, clove-scented carnations jostled for space amongst gladdies and daisies, star jasmine threatened to collapse the white picket fence. You could no longer see where to put your feet, the brick paths long since swallowed whole by the self-seeded herbs and pansies. Chickens clucked busily. It was extrordinary!
I really wanted to be wowed by this garden. Sadly it fell far short of that. It lacked any sense of continuity or purpose. There was not enough variation between garden areas, not enough to keep you guessing. No wow moments when you come 'round a corner and go 'WOW! I want that!' There were no variations in gradients, no steps or hillocks, or sunken areas. No tight paths to navigate. It was the type of garden that could have carried a lot of art - vast sculptures and quirky installations - but there were none. Not one. Anywhere. It was all very samey.
I had my camera but kept waiting for a decent photo opportunity. In the end I put my camera away.
It cost us $60 to visit, and I left a bit bewildered and underwhelmed. The people were so incredibly nice. Helpful, funny, chatty, and kind. I would have enjoyed the visit if it only included a coffee in the gorgeous cottage courtyard with these people.