Arialla is one of my favourite entertainers – what a voice and she’s just as good when dancing. So I was delighted to be invited to visit her homely garden in leafy Surrey.
It’s not a large or pretentious garden, but designed in the cottage garden style similar to that favoured by the late great Gertrude Jekyll. Gertrude died in 1932 but her legacy certainly lives on in the beautiful country gardens she designed and have been copied by thousands over the years. She was a great inspiration to everyone who wants a natural style garden without the pretentiousness that can sometimes permeate when a wealthy landowner asks for a design!
Arialla’s garden has been designed by her but she’s a great admirer of Gertrude and you can certainly see her influence. There are swathes of cottage garden plants sweeping up her long front path, bordered by immaculate lawns and neat hedging. The whole complements her pretty house and is a joy for every passerby.
The back garden is equally delightful and continues with the Jekyll influence, though leading to an informal orchard awash with apple trees that were bursting with fruit when I visited. Along with the apples were plum, pear and damson trees, all planted some 30 or 40 years ago. But much of the rest of the garden is Arialla’s own work. I didn’t realise she was so hands-on until we chatted and wandered around, but she knows every one of the plants and many were planted by her. She finds working in the garden to be a relaxation and relief from her on-stage work; it’s a time to switch off and enjoy nature in the privacy and quiet of her own little haven.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and as it was such a beautiful day we sat in the garden and enjoyed a glass of rose. It’s such a peaceful setting and I felt honoured to be invited to such a spot with a delightful host.