Getting inspiration from your surroundings - the church garden in Leatherhead

I took some photographs in our local church garden on Friday. The weather was sunny and windy so not the greatest conditions to take good pictures, but it's a lovely well kept garden and it made me think about drawing inspiration from your surroundings.

I love this tree lined entrance to the church door, especially with the shadows cast across the pathway.  It frames the view and draws your eye to the doorway at the end.

Leatherhead is situated on the edge of the North downs so parts of it are chalky and that means plants like Sedum and Perovskia simply thrive there.

The garden is attached to St Mary and St Nicholas church in Leatherhead and is set a little away from the hight street which makes it a peaceful place.  Often you see people eating their lunch out there on a warm sunny day.

In the distance you can just about see the North Downs.  The Stipa gigantea in this picture (tall grass at the back of the planting bed) is being blown around somewhat, but I quite liked the mood it gave this photograph.

Visiting parks and gardens in your area can give great clues as to what sort of plants thrive in the soil.  Whenever I go to a new garden I always have a nose around to see what's thriving in the neighbouring gardens.  If the area is surrounded with Rhododendrons, for example, then you know the soil is acidic.

This church garden also has a great feel to it.  There's formality with the walls that help to terrace the hill, but the planting is informal and romantic...you just want to walk through and take a closer look.

Are there any gardens or places near you that give inspiration?  Next time you go for a walk, open your eyes and take it all in.