Author Archives: philandjane

Stars of last week’s show

Only one week until our next NGS open garden event.

Our visitors last week were particularly interested in two of our unusual specimens;

Sinocalycalycanthus ‘Hartlage Wine’

Dwarf Horse Chestnut, Aesculus Pavia ‘Koehnei’

And not forgetting Shackleton.

Here’s hoping for better weather!

Rain didn’t stop play

Saturday we opened the garden in support of the National Gardens Scheme.

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The day had a promising start with bright sunshine and not a cloud in the sky but the humidity heralded the torrential rain and thunder storm that was to hit mid-afternoon.

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5070d7f8-de42-48de-8e08-f0e1fafb81e5Some came armed with umbrellas and rain coats and some with nothing but a positive attitude and much laughter as they resigned themselves to getting absolutely soaked through!


Huge thanks to The Pot Place for loaning five ’emergency’ hanging baskets. We had ordered some self watering ‘cup and saucer’ ones which have an inbuilt reservoir and only require watering twice a week,  but they didn’t arrive and the courtyard wouldn’t have looked as good without the lovely flowers.

Thanks go to Phil’s Mum  who helped with last minute weeding, tidying and ticket sales and his Dad who counted legs, divided by two and kept the visitors entertained in the garden.

cd2f57da-8d0f-4451-88cb-76ce86d20bbcThanks also to our lovely friends who paid to come in although they have seen the garden many times before.

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We turned the summerhouse into a pop-up gallery to display some of Phil’s work.

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And we get to do it all again for NGS on Sunday 11th June 12-5pm … hope to see you then!

Pot luck!

We were sorting through our tree pots on Sunday in preparation for next Saturday’s NGS open garden event and were about to move the trestle …..


Phil spotted her just in time …


We should have some new blackbird chicks very soon!

Prior to discovery, we had been watering with the hose so she’s had a daily drenching and still she remained. Phil has already named the chicks (answers on a postcard please) but there will be no Rush to return your entries!

National Gardens Scheme: a potted history

Next Saturday 27 May we are opening our garden, in support of the National Garden Scheme.

Beneficiary charities are: The Queen’s Nursing Institute, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie, Carers Trust, Hospice UK, Perennial, Parkinson’s UK and other guest charities.
Around 3,700 gardens open each year for the National Garden Scheme, all of the gardens can be found on NGS website or in their Garden Visitor’s Handbook, published annually.
The National Garden Scheme has a rich and interesting history that is closely connected with nursing in the UK, which has  been my occupation for the last 31 years.

In 1859, William Rathbone, a Liverpool merchant, employed a nurse to care for his wife at home. After his wife’s death, Rathbone kept the nurse on to help poor people in the neighbourhood. Later, Rathbone raised funds for the recruitment, training and employment of nurses to go into the deprived areas of the city.

In 1926 the organisation decided to raise a special fund in memory of their patron, Queen Alexandra, who had recently died. The fund would pay for training and would also support nurses who were retiring. A council member, Miss Elsie Wagg, came up with the idea of raising money for charity through the nation’s obsession with gardening, by asking people to open their gardens to visitors and charging a modest entry fee that would be donated.

In 1927 The National Garden Scheme was founded. Individuals were asked to open up their gardens for ‘a shilling a head’. In the first year 609 gardens raised over £8,000. A year later, the district nursing organisation became officially named the Queen’s Nursing Institute.

By 1931 a network of volunteer County Organisers had been set up and over 1,000 private gardens were open.

In 1932, Country Life magazine published an illustrated guide – costing one shilling – to 1,079 gardens open for charity, with a green cover and an introduction by its editor, Christopher Hussey.

In 1948, after the Second World War, the National Health Service took on the District Nursing Service, but money was still needed to care for retired nurses and invest in training. The National Garden Scheme offered to donate funding to the National Trust to restore and preserve important gardens. In return, the National Trust opened many of its most prestigious gardens for the National Garden Scheme.

In  1970 1,234 gardens opened raising almost £52,000.

In 1984 Macmillan Cancer Support joined the list of beneficiary charities.

In 1996 Marie Curie (formerly Marie Curie Cancer Care), Help the Hospices and Crossroads (now Carers Trust) also became beneficiary charities.

In  2013 Parkinson’s UK joined as a ‘guest charity’ of the National Garden Scheme, they went on to become a permanent beneficiary.

In 2016 in honour of Frogmore gardens opening for 70 years for the National Garden Scheme, 70 Queen’s Nurses attended the open day in June.

NGS donations for 2017:  MacMillan £500,000. Marie Curie £500,000. Hospice UK £500,000. Carers Trust £400,000. Qni  £375,000.


It would be lovely to see you next weekend. We have plants for sale and Phil is even parting with some trees!!!

2 The Faulds CA49PB. Featured in Cumbria Life, a compact garden accessed via sandstone steps is divided into 3 distinct areas. Rare and unusual trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials, a collection of trees in pots grown from seed, raised beds, wild- life pond and Bantam run. Art work and stained glass are on display. Nearby church with stained glass by Burne-Jones/William Morris and recent window by the garden owner.
For refreshments there are 2 PHs and a village shop all within a short walking distance.

Chicken Piñata

Our bantams have a great life in their run. They have 2 posh Eglus to lay eggs and sleep in at night, plenty of bark chips to scratch about in and even a bantam topiary, lovingly created by Phil, but is yet to grow a head!

However bantams can jump and when one starts decimating the plant life, the others join in and now our specimen Sycoparrotia semidecidua ‘purple haze’ is suffering defoliation of its lower branches.

In an attempt to distract them we treated them to a cabbage suspended just out of reach.

It kept them  all entertained for a while but not long enough to allow the plants to recover; they have the attention span of a goldfish! Back to the drawing board….

England after the rain

In 2005 Carlisle was unexpectedly hit by devastating floods and 1600 properties were affected directly. Many householders lost everything and when the water subsided, every home affected had a skip outside. It took some over a year  before they were able to return and then on 5th December 2015, when those same residents were preparing to celebrate Christmas, they were flooded out again in the aftermath of storm Desmond’s record breaking rainfall. This time 2100 properties were inundated.

Carlisle is at the confluence of three major rivers, the Rivers Eden, Caldew and Petteril, and is therefore highly prone to flooding. The city has a long history of flooding with notable floods in 1771, 1822, 1856, 1925, 1968 and more recently in 2005. The 2015 flood level on the River Eden was 0.6m higher than in 2005.

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The 1/8 scale model pictured, is a work in progress and is being created by Phil for C-Art Cumbrian Artist of the Year 2017. Note the logo on the side of the skip which is the alchemy symbol for gold rising  out of the alchemy symbol for water. It resembles a cocktail glass. Some did undoubtedly profit from the misfortune of others.

The prophesy shown above was on the front page of the 2005 Cumberland News souvenir edition. Today, some properties still have a skip outside. Some homeowners have left for good, their houses up for sale or sold at auction.

The Importance of Being Hair-nest

‘A carrier bag?’ ….. the boys have been stripped to reveal their sleek spring coats and we asked to keep the hair as we thought it would make excellent nesting material.

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A whole carrier bag full;  enough here to bring up several broods in comfort!