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.
Some 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.
Thanks 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!
Last Sunday we went to Dalemain House where there was a plant fair and a farmers market. Penrith Beekepers also had a stall so we were able to have a quick catch up with them about our recent bee issues.
Dalemain dates from the reign of Henry II, when it was the site of a fortified tower. It has been home to the Hassel family since 1679, but its gardening history predates even then. During the early 17th and late 16th centuries, the grounds were used to produce healing and culinary herbs for the house. Connections to the garden’s horticultural past are everywhere: for instance a Greek fir (Abies cephalonica), planted in the 1840s by ancestor Dorothea Hasell; a gift from Joseph Banks, the plant collector who sailed on the Endeavour with Captain Cook. It is now the oldest and largest specimen in the UK, measuring 85ft high and 19ft wide.
Each year it holds the prestigious Dalemain Marmalade Awards. Last year there were 2 winners and their marmalades are now sold as a limited edition by Fortnum and Mason. We tasted samples and came away with 4 jars. I think we will definitely go to the 2015 marmalade fair.
Our friend Mr Vikki (famous world wide for award winning chilli products) www.mrvikkis.co.uk had a stall and we bought his Kashmiri chilli pickle which is his latest creation. He will be back for chilli-fest. We also caught up with Eric and Diane Horne of Birdoswald cheeses fame. www.slackhousefarm.co.uk Phil has known them for many years and they produce hand made, cloth bound mould- ripened cheese from unpasteurised organic milk, fresh from their herd of Ayrshire cows.
Iris photos by Joseph Dutton
We also bought some delicate iris which Phil planted by the pond. The Open Garden is tomorrow !