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10 September 2019Coach Trip to Parcevall Hall in Appletreewick near Warfdale
13 August 2019Visit to Eggleston Gardens
10 July 2019Visit to a Members Garden in Ravenstonedale
09 July 2019Visit to Pear Tree Cottage in Dalton, near Burton-in-Kendal
18 June 2019Gardeners of Eden visit Yorkshire 18 - 20 June 2019
11 June 2019Visit to Deer Rudding in Wigton
27 May 2019May Plant Sale
14 May 2019Visit to Winderwath near Temple Sowerby
09 April 2019Visit to Haverthwaite Lodge and Lakeview Hotel, Newby Bridge.
11 March 2019Visit to Dalefoot Composts
05 February 2019Annual Lunch
04 December 2018Christmas Party and Planning Meeting
06 November 2018Talk - Ferns from the Fern Nursery in Lincolnshire
16 October 2018Visit to Thorp Perrow Arboretum
12 September 2018Talk - Artist and Gardener
04 September 2018Visit to Treetyme in Kirkoswald
07 August 2018Visit to Park House and Pudding Poke Barn, in Barbon near Kirkby Lonsdale
19 July 2018Three Days in Scotland
10 July 2018The Woodland Trust
10 July 2018Members Gardens in Malllerstang Valley
03 July 2018Kiplin Hall near Richmond, Yorkshire
08 May 2018Constable Burton Tulip Display
07 November 2017Northern Gardens - with Photographic Tips for Gardeners
30 October 2017Visit to High Close Arboretum, Grasmere
05 September 2017Visit to Yewbarrow House
01 August 2017Visit to Orchard Cottage
01 July 2017Visit - Three Days in Shropshire

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Coach Trip to Parcevall Hall in Appletreewick near Warfdale Phil, Head Gardener Tuesday 10 September 2019

A large group of the Gardeners travelled by coach to Parcevall Hall in Wharfedale to visit the gardens there. The gardens were laid out first in 1927 by Sir William Milner. He bought the house when it was a farm with 16 acres and 8 acres of woodland. The gardens are situated south to south-east facing on a slope at the end of the Craven fault. The top end of the site is limestone and the lower end is gritstone.

Sir William died in 1960 and left the house and garden in trust to a Church of England charity. While the house was made into a rural retreat and conference centre, the garden fell into neglect. Later the directors of the trust employed Josephine Makin to oversee the restoration of the grounds. She has made a good job and head gardener Phil and his small team continue to maintain the gardens in the Arts and Crafts style.

Phil was very kind and took us round the garden and woods, explaining as we went how the place works. The woods are kept open and the understorey is strimmed once a year to take out seedling ash and alder. Ferns are left. This job takes about a week! Pockets of larger works are undertaken separately. Now there is room and light for masses of snowdrops and bluebells. Azaleas and Rhododendrons have been planted - but no R. ponticum!

As we progressed uphill, we came to the pond. It looks natural, but a concrete dam has been built under our feet. It couldnt be seen as the top is grassed over and there is a natural edge planting of wild damp-loving plants, including Primula florindii just giving its last blooms of the year. Water drains from the beck higher up, and a header tank has been installed lower down the hill. The needs of the garden are all served from this tank. The pond is deep and difficult to enter for maintenance and the surface pond weed is becoming somewhat overgrown. But it is a very pretty sight and a wildlife haven.

As we continued through the woodland, it began to open out and shrubs became more noticeable. A new hedge of Vibernum opulus has been planted on the boundary. A magnificent specimen of V. opulus Xanthocarpum was spotted in the woodland edge. It has open clusters of white flowers in the spring but today it was in full berry, these are a gorgeous buttery yellow and held in clusters all over the bush.

A wide grassy area separates the garden from the woodland, and in spring it becomes a carpet of blue camassia. It must be stunning.  Now we were to see the formal gardens. These were designed by Sir William in the shape of the Cross. The long leg of the Cross is on the long axis of the garden and we saw this from the bottom end. It has a wide grass pathway through the centre, and on either side are two herbaceous borders stocked with red-flowered and red-leaved plants. This design feature is always maintained as the colour represents the blood at the foot of the cross. The walls backing this area are hedged with Thuya plicata, a slow growing and reliable plant. On either side of this herbaceous garden are two orchards planted with old varieties of apples. Some new planting has taken place recently, but old varieties are again replaced.

As we walked through the herbaceous garden we noticed red plants everywhere. There was tall Lobelia splendens, and Amaranthus hypochondriacus with Miscanthus sinensis Little Fountain. There was red Hesperantha and Geum with Eupatorium behind attracting Red Admirals. Kniphofia (red hot poker) was also abundant.

At the top of this garden we came to the first of three terraces that make up the arms of the cross. This lowest one is modern and made of concrete. It is decorated with yellow Buddleja x weyeriana Sungold and long drifts of Agapanthus. There is a lovely purple Clematis over  the centre arch and Nerines are just coming into bloom now on the other side.

We walked along and out onto the drive to access the rose garden, passing lots of healthy and robust Hydrangeas, Meconopsis newly planted for next year and camellia and hosta in the shady borders under the trees. The rose garden is uphill to a summer house over a new lawn with roses either side. Looking down from the summer house we could see a magnificent and mature Magnolia. What a sight it will be in springtime. It is a M. Cambellii alba, known to be one of the best magnolias. Phil said it needs to be 30 years old to flower! There have been several replantings of the rose garden because of the difficult site. It slopes in both directions. Shrub roses were tried, and a prostrate rose called White Partridge in the small front borders, both failed; English roses failed. A combination of roses with other mixed shrubs and nepeta in the front borders is working now, and it all looks lovely. Yew hedges enclosing the garden were planted 20 years ago.

Through the back door in the summer house we made our way further uphill to the top of the garden, then through another apple orchard flanked by mature Scots pine to our right and Chameacyparis pisifera, an interesting cypress with red flowers, to our left on the far side. We learnt that the apples are used in the house, are mostly for cooking, and are sent also for cider making and for apple juicing. In spring the orchard is covered in daffodils. The valley away to our left is said to be haunted by a spectral hound and to be the inspiration to Conan Doyle for his Hound of the Baskervilles!

Now we had access to the rock garden, a very special place, the only rock garden on bedrock in UK, possibly in all of Europe, we were told. No stone has been brought in. There were many interesting plants thriving here, including Morina longifolia and willow gentian. Morina is an unusual plant, the bruised foliage smells of tangerine. It appears to be a prickly plant but only the older foliage gets prickly. Young seedlings could be taken for thistles, so beware when weeding. The tall flower spike has pink and white flowers simultaneously, this is a clever device to indicate to the pollinators that the darker  flowers have already been fertilised! Willow gentian (Gentiana asclepiadea) is a hardy perennial with arching stems flowering with many vivid blue flowers in September. Also in the rock garden are several specimens of Picea albertina, a dwarf conifer that grows only very slowly, and doesnt need trimming, the perfect little tree!

The Chapel garden is a very tranquil place  attached to a small chapel. Here there are lots of foliage plants and a gentle cascade. It is enclosed by a beech hedge and has an elegant goldy pink Japanese maple as a centrepiece. Here there is Acanthus, sedum and hosta.

From the top terrace accessed through an arch off the front courtyard, is a stunning view of Simons Seat across the valley. As we emerged, the view was famed by the tall herbaceous planting. Fuschia and blue salvia, helenium and rudbeckia predominated here. On the second terrace there is much mixed planting and lawn, with hedging breaking up the width across the house. The central section has a pretty stone circular reflective pool, and adds to the  wonderfully peaceful scene all around.