Category Archives: Armathwaite open gardens

A trio of gardens in Armathwaite

We’re opening our garden at The Faulds in conjunction with Hazel Cottage and Coombe Eden on 2nd and 3rd June For the National Garden Scheme, which supports healthcare charities.


Combined admission is £5 per adult and children free. Home made cakes and teas are available at Hazel cottage and we have plants for sale. Some of Phil’s fantastic art work will also be on display. We’d love to see you!


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.

It’s Armathwaite Open Gardens!..’you know it is, it really is.’

The weather was a bit unpredictable this year but despite the rain, we had 267 visitors to our garden over the two days… an increase on last year! It was good to see some familiar faces and they appreciated how much the garden has developed since last year.


‘2113’……thanks Cindy.

The finishing touch to Phil’s fantastic Frank Sidebottom scarecrow arrived just in time on Saturday morning …. a shocking pink silk tie all the way from China! Frank was a hit with our visitors and we were very surprised how many people had heard of Timperley and of Frank Sidebottom. He now stands proudly guarding our Timperley Early Rhubarb.




Is that Timperley Rhubarb?…. ‘You know it is…it really is’


We sold some plants too and all the proceeds from ticket sales will be split between the village church and village hall funds. Many went up to the church to look at Phil’s window and came back with glowing reviews.





One of our White Silkie bantams Katty Clean-Doors (see post ‘words for snow’ under Bantams category) has taken to the nest. She stopped laying and started sitting on the Lavender Pekin’s infertile eggs for about a week but as we have no cockerel, it would be a long wait and she would be in for a huge disappointment.


Our neighbour just up the road also has bantams and whilst admiring our rhubarb over the fence, happened to ask if any of our bantams were sitting. They had a clutch of (hopefully) fertile eggs but the mother wouldn’t  sit on them and they didn’t want to have to resort to a heat lamp and incubator. She brought the eggs round and put them under Katty who immediately fluffed up and purred …. yes purred ! They were date marked and it takes exactly 3 weeks so now  we are eagerly awaiting to see if we will have chicks for Open Garden.


We have had no takers for the ‘des res’ bird box with camera… Not even a spider. However, the Collared Dove has been busy making a nest out of the most scant of materials in the Tree Honeysuckle.


…..and there are currently two eggs.


Mrs Blackbird has made a nest in our Cryptomeria Japonica ‘Sekkan-Sugi’ near the raised beds ….


…and is sitting on five lovely blue eggs.





Fasty returns!

The garden is looking really good now; just 4 weeks to the Open Garden event. We have been really lucky with lots of sunshine and not much rain so every thing has put on rapid growth. Phil has been out watering regularly and even had to top up the pond.



The dahlias are in and should be a riot of reds and burgundys right through ’til October.


Yesterday we saw the return of a rare friend …. Fasty the Slow worm was spotted in the border disappearing under the vegetation. Luckily Phil caught him before the dogs noticed. He’s dropped  his tail recently so looks a bit short!


Fasty the Slow Worm

The Anguis fragilis, or slow worm, is a limbless lizard native to Eurasia. It is sometimes called a blindworm.

Slow worms are semifossorial (burrowing) lizards, spending much of the time hiding underneath objects. The skin of slow worms is smooth with scales that do not overlap one another. Like many other lizards, slow worms autotomize, meaning that they have the ability to shed their tails to escape predators, by breaking one of their tail vertebrae in half. While the tail regrows, it does not reach its original length. They are not that common in gardens but can be encouraged to enter and help remove pest insects and snails by placing black plastic or a piece of tin on the ground. On warm days, one or more slow worms will often be found underneath these heat collectors. One of the biggest causes of mortality in slow worms in suburban areas is the domestic cat, against which it has no defence.

The females give birth to live young (ovoviviparous birth). In the days leading up to birth, the female can often be seen basking in the sun on a warm road.

Although these lizards are often mistaken for snakes, a number of features differentiate them. The most important one is that they have small eyes with eyelids that, like other lizards, blink. Unlike snakes, they may also have visible ears. They shed their skin in patches, whereas most snakes shed their whole skin. Also, the pattern of their ventral scales is totally different from that of snakes.

He’s a very welcome visitor!


Tidying the Borders

It’s another fine sunny day in our Eden Paradise and only 5 weeks until the annual Open Garden event. Today is also someone’s 3rd birthday …..


It’s all been a bit much for Shackleton

Our Borders  are looking their best now that their coats have put on some new growth after being stripped in April.






Time now to strip the other borders of weeds.

Late Bloomer

We received a letter yesterday informing us that the Open Garden event raised £1500 which will be split equally between our village hall and church. It’s a pity  that our flowers were a little late. Here are some that were not out or at their best on the day.


Eryngium x Zabelli 'Jos Eijking'

Eryngium x Zabelli ‘Jos Eijking’

Hydrangea 'Blue Wave'

Hydrangea ‘Blue Wave’

Salvia 'Superba'

Salvia ‘Superba’

Scabious 'Pink Mist'

Scabious ‘Pink Mist’

Phygelius 'Devil's Tears'

Phygelius ‘Devil’s Tears’

Cotoneaster variety unknown

Cotoneaster variety unknown

Purple Speedwell

Purple Speedwell

Scabious 'Butterfly Blue Beauty'

Scabious ‘Butterfly Blue Beauty’

Garden view

Garden view

Hoster,Hydrangea and foxglove in the courtyard.

Hoster,Hydrangea and foxglove in the courtyard.