Category Archives: Gardening in Eden

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.


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.


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.

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


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.

Who killed the Black Dahlia?

The Dahlias in the raised bed proved to be quite a talking point with passers by over the fence. It is the first time we have grown them and they provided a fabulous shock of burgundy and red right through into the first frost of November.

There one moment and gone in a flash, succumbed to the deadly  hand of Jack Frost.

Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb…

Rhubarb belongs to the plant family Polygonaceae and is a very old plant. Contrary to popular belief, it is classed as a vegetable, not a fruit, being a close relative of garden Sorrel although in the western world it is still more usually used in desserts.

Rhubarb is the plant name for the many different species (about 70) of Rheum. It originated in Asia, in particular China and Tibet, with the earliest records relating to its use dating back to 2700BC when it was mainly cultivated for medicinal purposes, in particular for its purgative qualities. Whilst it’s believed that by the 1500s it was being used in Europe for its medicinal properties, one of the first records found of its culinary use in Europe dates back to 1608. However, it was not officially recorded as a culinary plant in Europe until the mid/late 1700s.


‘Come on Timperley…..come on Timperley. You know you can, you really can’

Our Timperley Rhubarb has often been the envy of the village and several friends and neighbours now have clumps split from ours growing their gardens. We always have the best intentions of turning it into something wonderful but don’t tend to eat desserts so never get round to using it and we give it away or it ends up stewed and stashed in the freezer. The plan this year is to make rhubarb vodka and bottle it for Christmas. Last weekend I thought I’d make a start but when I went to pull it, every stem had small black splits from top to bottom and strange clear crystals had exuded from them. I thought this had to be insect damage, but could see no evidence of anything living in the stems. Internet research proved to be inconclusive but gathering snippets of information from various sources we came to our own conclusion.

The leaves of the Rhubarb have long been known contain the poison Oxalic acid. Several deaths were documented during the First World War when, due to hardship people took to eating the leaves as a vegetable.

It seems that during periods of fluctuation in climatic conditions ie from very hot and dry to hideously wet, the Oxalic acid migrates from the leaves into the stems.The acid is exuded from the stem through small lesions where it then re-crystallises rendering the whole plant poisonous.


‘Rhubarb triangle?’ …..’Red Square’

As you can see from the picture of Frank Sidebottom above, in a just a week it has rallied and hopefully I will be on with the vodka project very soon ….recipe to follow.