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Secrets of an enchanting garden are revealed just once a year

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: July 06, 2014

By John Workman

  • (Above) All Saints Church, Claverley. (Below) Flower displays use the ancient fabric of the church to great effect

  • Jacobean LudstoneHall

  • One of many attractive statues in the secretive gardens

  • The surreptitious moat

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ON a still, warm, midsummer's day, there can be no better place for the human spirit to find comfort than somewhere in the English countryside, away from the hustle and bustle of the crowd, with bees buzzing overhead, poppy speckled fields spied in the distance, and a big sky wrapping the whole experience up into one tidy bundle.

Ingredients like beautiful fragrances, magnificent colours and exhibitions of floral creativity can add to this ambience and the village flower festival, a popular event at this time of year offers so much and more.

In the past the one held at All Saints' Church, Claverley has proved popular with Black Country folk seeking a colourful tonic from the monochrome urban lifestyle, and every year the Claverley Flower Festival reveals a secret, a private garden that wraps itself around the Jacobean Hall at Ludstone like a diamond necklace, and is open for the public to explore and indulge in its beauty for just seven hours.

The hall and garden belong to Mr and Mrs Keith Smith and Keith told us, "Every year during the Claverley Flower Festival, I like to give a little back to my friends from the Black Country, hopefully an experience they will never forget."

The garden has been open to the public as part of the Claverley Flower Festival for the past fifteen years, and all the proceeds go towards the event held at All Saints Church, and the local history society. In addition to the abundance of flowers, the many statues dotted around 10 acres of formal gardens and a moat that surreptitiously lies in the grounds, Keith now has a museum which he hopes will once again prove popular this year.

Keith told us, "This year my son Steven, who was managing director of Poundland and a former entrepreneur of the year, will be on hand to give guided tours round the museum and answer any questions visitors may have."

Ludstone Hall is in the region of 400 years old and the museum includes many artefacts from the long and fascinating history of the estate. There is also a section devoted to the Smith family's success which includes their years as market traders, owners of Hootys Cash & Carry, and as the founders of Poundland Ltd. Other attractions on the day will include various stalls, hot and cold food, musical entertainment and a beer tent. The gardens will be open from 10am to 5pm on Sunday July 13, and there will be an admission charge of £3 for adults with children free. There will be a separate fee of £1 for entrance to the museum.

Now in its 40th year, the theme for this years Flower Festival at Claverley's All Saints' Church, an ancient edifice that dates back to the Normans and worthy of visit on its own, is all about Hollywood, and will run from Saturday July 12 to Tuesday July 15. Entrance fee is £3 and refreshments will be available in the tents in the church grounds from 10am to 5am during the event. The Flowers can be viewed from 10am to 7pm every day.

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