On God's side of the Pennines

Posted 2006/04/30 22:58

I know this is strictly off-topic, but a jaunt over east-ways to North Yorkshire a few weeks ago yielded some horticultural delights that should not be missed:
Firstly is 'Aysgarth Edwardian Rock Garden' which I only found because we pulled up right next to it for a quick on-the-road kip. It's a charming old-style rock garden, privately maintained largely and free to visitors dawn to dusk, with a checkered past which even includes garden gnome marketing. A few rare plants suvive and there's an exquisite atmosphere of faded, eccentric grandeur about it all.
Directions on getting there and more info are here at

Next, was this fabulous conifer hedge, somewhere near the afore-mentioned garden. What I like so much about it is that although it's clearly formed out of conical-shaped conifers, these individual outlines have been re-instated into the hedge by its owner - almost like carving.

Finally, we detoured near Middlesborough to the magnificent Guisborough Allotments which we spotted from the road, a huge sprawl of colourful plots, each with unique and fascinating idiosyncrasies - buildings, fancy poultry, brassicas, fencing...Long may the developers stay away from this place, it's a remarkable feat of human ingenuity.

That's my garden you're mountain-biking on

Posted 2006/04/16 23:01

It's no secret that the Easter break can be a challenging time for us locals. I solve the inevitable road rage threat by not going out, and instead spend the weekend getting some bits of the garden ship shape. This doesn't entirely remove me from the tourists, as our garden is bisected by a bridle-way down to Brantwood, a favourite spot for speeding mountain cyclists to stop for a breather.
Terrible recent weather and a broken digger have severely delayed our new kitchen garden (I have had to pray for the fruit bushes to survive in their box, and packed the asparagus in damp sand), so instead I'm moving my ghastly wet bits of carpet around the new woodland garden (weed-removal the organic way) and planting some large areas around new trees with a mixture of Deschampsia cespitosa and Tellima grandiflora (both indestructible in other areas of the garden) in naturalistic swathes. I am hoping to avoid what sometimes afflicts woodland /shrub gardens here in the Lakes -a kind of bitty-ness where you clambour around steep ground dotted with specimen plants - by underplanting our new trees with very large numbers of a very limited palette of plants - mainly grasses which I have propagated.
I can't wait for the area to get growing so that the pathways I have left between the palnted areas can really take form - and I can see if what I think is going to work, will!

The Rites of Spring

Posted 2006/03/31 23:02

After an incredibly harsh March with several weeks under more than a feet of snow, much of the garden is showing wear and tear bordering on carnage: brown eucalyptus leaves, singed ceonothus, crocus (those that survived the rodents) prostrate and sodden after days of torrential rain.
However - like all gardens - on closer inspection there is much to celebrate: Some other crocus - later ones- are creamy and fresh amongst the vivid pink heathers (Vivelli & March Seedling), caltha palustris (white form) is peeping out, semiaquilegia and sedum are showing greyish knobs of growth, and in the polytunnel everything is leafy and my beertraps are full of baby slugs. Elsewhere in the Lakes the tourist-magnets, the daffodils, are beginning to show but mine - newly planted narcissi 'February Gold' on the whole - are ignoring their named destiny as yet.