Wednesday 24th June was a very hot day, so we were grateful for our visit being in the cooler evening. Our group of eleven were greeted by the owners Colin Little and Penny Stirling, and before dividing us into 2 groups , we were given a short outline of how the garden developed over the 22 years that they had been living at Beggars Knoll.

The garden is essentially a series of rooms, the Chinese philosophy being that the garden should not be seen all at once. We were enthusiastically informed about dragons (good) and devils (bad), how the four pavilions (tings in Chinese) were made, why the paths are zig zag (devils can only run in straight lines) and many more fascinating facts about the origins of Chinese gardens, and this one in particular.

The garden is full of rare trees and shrubs, plus more familiar plants, not all in the garden originated in China. Elaborate gates complete with carved dragons welcome visitors into each garden, everyone with a name, e.g. The Red Wall Garden, which has…a red wall. A beautiful Moon Gate and many mosaics also featured, and we were very impressed with the hard work and creativity displayed. We ended our tour on the lawn, with tea and cake and pleasant conversation.