As the drizzle set in around 6pm on referendum day our little group gathered at St Peters to be conveyed, in a variety of member’s cars, to the top of a hill in Highgate with views over London. Barbara Barnett had arranged this private viewing of two gardens and few of us knew what to expect. The first of the two gardens was Southwood Lodge where we were taken round by Sue Whittington. The garden was beautiful and full of special plants, even in the drizzle we were captivated by the variety. I for one had house and greenhouse envy! The hosts were very kind and Sue was a generous and patient guide – answering all of our questions easily and demonstrating her deep knowledge and love of gardening.
The second garden, 2 Millfield Place was on a different scale altogether. Southwood Lodge was not small but it curled around the house and down the hill forming ‘rooms’ which made the spaces intimate. The garden at Millfield House was expansive and seemed more like parkland, a grand open space which would have had fine views on a brighter evening. Huge borders, beautiful trees, a tennis court and private seated areas all perfectly tended. The garden was another gem but the real treat was learning about Peter Lloyd’s and his association with Plant Heritage and the conservation of rare plants through national collections.