Unusual Front Gardens #1: Box

This is the first of a new series* which celebrates some of the more unusual front gardens I've found here in the UK. We're known as a nation of gardeners and sometimes as being rather eccentric. I'm aiming to merge the two into one glorious whole.

First up is this garden just a few miles from me in Box. It's been featured in several magazines and was also glimpsed briefly in How Britain Got The Gardening Bug on TV recently. I'll probably return to this one in December as the engine's usually decked out in lots of Christmas lights to raise money for charity.

Box also has Brunel's ultra long railway tunnel and is probably the place which inspired Thomas the Tank Engine as this is where the Reverend WV Awdry lived as a boy:

I, along with my brother George, born in 1916, inherited our father’s love of railways, and after moving to Box, Wiltshire, in 1917 our house was within sight and sound of the Great Western Railway’s main line line near Middle Hill. I used to lie in bed at night, listening to the engines struggling up the hill to Box tunnel, and imagining that they were talking to themselves.

With that heritage around the village it must be only natural to have a steam engine in one's front garden :)

* = it may also be very short as I've only found four so far ;)


  1. I want one of them!

    Also - in Dorchester, there's an old 'White Stag' pub which is closed down and boarded up and there's a huge white stag on its roof . . . which I've been thinking would look good outside my house.


  2. I love this type of eccentricity, what we do best in the UK; there is always a fine line between this and a surfeit of gnomes though!

  3. Interesting post the photo will be shown to my husband who is a bit of a railway boff.

  4. I think we are becoming to conservative and there isn't enough 'eccentricity' around. Planners like us to all conform! I will keep my eyes open for examples for you.

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

  5. There used to be an odd garden in Darcy Road past the station / college. Think its still there - you'll see what I mean

    And there's some weird topiary on Sandown drive, Cepen Park South.

  6. My SIL has had a bed frame, bathtub, and a sink in her garden.

  7. Ah, eccentric gardeners... my kind of people. Love this front garden!

  8. Fantastic! I really love it! Look forward to reading this series! Val

  9. the sense of eccentricity is one of the things i like best about england. eccentricity (unique just for the sake of unique) is not looked upon with favor on the east coast/u.s.

  10. Looking forward to a picture at Christmas when it's covered in lights!

  11. Hi VP, the pages of Amateur Gardening are a good source of unusual gardens. I remember a picture of a man in Nottingham who had created a replica Ring of Brodgar stone circle in his front garden.

  12. Nothing cookie-cutter about that - it's just fantastic! I wonder how they got it in there.

  13. That is fun! When I was a younger gardener I wanted a giant Bob's Big Boy in my yard! You have to have grown up here to understand what I mean! gail

  14. This looks wonderful!

    I do love eccentricity.

  15. Lucy - that sounds like just the thing - perhaps you need to contact the landowner to see if you can have it!

    Grethic - strangely I haven't found a gnome garden yet which I've been fully expecting to. Perhaps they're all round the back?

    Joanne - this steam engine's an old farm one by the look of it.

    Sylvia - absolutely and thanks for keeping a look out for me. You've come up trumps on the public planting front so far.

    Mark - ooohh topiary, just what I'm looking for. Thanks - it's good to have another local pair of eyes around. I'll add both of them to the list. I think the series will be at least 8 now as I've just remembered there's a tree which gets decked out as a Christmas pudding.

    MNG - sounds like she'd fit right in here ;) Thanks for the Blotanical fave too - I'll come over and say Hi in there sooooon :D

    Monica - it's got another piece of machinery too, so could get featured again!

    Valeri - I think it's going to be fun to do as well as read :)

    Petoskystone - if my understanding's correct, eccentricity in the States is more a West Coast thing?

    EG - assuming I don't get too much camera shake. Must check that my camera fits the tripod I used with my film cameras...

    Martyn - that's just inspired. I wonder if it's still around so that my friend Maggi could photograph it?

    MMD - it's a mystery to me because it's been there ever since we moved to the area 25 years ago. Unless the stone wall at the front was built afterwards. I'm intending to join in your annuals meme BTW but not until after my blog break next week. Hope that's OK.

    Gail - I must go and Google Big Bob's Boy immediately, unless someone from the YAWA team can help?

    Phoenix C - I love eccentricity too - hence my celebrating it here :)

  16. Most of the front gardens around here have been concreted over and used for parking cars on!
    It's really great when we do come across one like this.
    Have a good weekend! xx

  17. yes. odd color combinations or people not expected to be avid gardeners but are is as unique as east coast goes.

  18. Flighty - thanks to this post I'll have more than 4 of them to tell you about :) You have a good weekend too!

    Petoskystone - I thought as much. Thanks for letting me know. Enjoy your weekend :)

  19. No way! I drive past that garden all the time. It does look cool at Christmas :)

  20. Hi, if your looking for topiary there is a great hedge at the police station end of Priory street in Corsham ;o) (it's not mine by the way!!)


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