Mid-May saw EBTS UK members from across the UK & USA getting together with guests from EBTS France & our European President Véronique Goblet d’Alviella in the delights of the Cumbrian countryside for the AGM weekend of garden visits and talks including one by our Patron, Lord Cavendish of Furness. Based at the Netherwood Hotel, Grange over Sands whilst missing the Eurovision Song Contest in favour of a formal dinner, we were treated to some spectacular gardens and celebrated World Topiary day at its home Levens Hall with demonstrations by Chris Poole and Phil Seabrook (Tip Top Topiary).
A beautiful 12-acre garden on a sloping site above a tributary of the River Lune. The garden is arranged as a series of terraces below the historic Gothic-style house of Gresgarth Hall. The garden is the creation of the garden designer Arabella Lennox-Boyd, who moved here with her family in 1978. She has developed the gardens herself by combining Italian style with British plantsmanship.
Summerdale Garden & Nursery
Owners Gail and David Sheals are former doctors who are now ploughing a different furrow in the world of horticulture since moving here in 1997. Summerdale is a 1½-acre part-walled country garden set around an 18th century former vicarage. Several defined areas have been created by hedges, each with its own theme and linked by intricate cobbled pathways. It is a beautiful setting
with fine views across to Farleton Fell. There are traditional herbaceous borders, ponds, woodland and meadow planting which provide year-round interest. There are large collections of auricula, primulas and snowdrops.
Lawland Hall, Austrick
The house is a stone-built Elizabethan manor which Giles and Felicity Bowring inherited in 1987. The garden has been gradually developed to create a nature friendly environment which is now almost organic. Hedges of beech, yew and box help to divide up the area (about 1½ acres). There are mixed borders formally laid 3 out in the upper garden which gives way to long grass planted with bulbs and native wild flowers running downhill towards the lake which was created in the early 2020s from the nearby beck and which attracts wildlife including kingfishers and herons. A central axis runs from the back of the house towards a small “ride” in the wood beyond the lake consisting of cone-shaped yews and an avenue of Malus hupehensis.
A truly spectacular garden dating back to the 1690s, the ten acres of gardens retain many original features including the world’s oldest topiary gardens. This surreal and unique collection of ancient box and yew trees, in abstract or geometric shape, rises up from a beautiful display of underplanting. The garden is populated with an ever-changing array of over 30,000 bedding plants which are all grown in the greenhouses on site.
Holker Hall is the home of the patron of EBTS UK, Lord Cavendish of Furness. It was described by Pevsner as “the grandest building of its date in Lancashire…by the best architects then living in the county.” The building dates from the 16th 4 century, with alterations, additions, and rebuilding in the 18th and 19th centuries. The west wing was rebuilt after a major fire in 1871. The 23 acres of gardens comprise a series of formal gardens set within a more informal landscape of interesting trees, shrubs and meadows. They are planted to offer year-round inspiration for casual visitors and keen gardeners alike. The spring is a riot of colour with displays of tulips, daffodils, wallflowers and spring meadows, framed by majestic rhododendrons and magnolias. Summer brings billowing borders packed with colour and exciting tender plants, and wonderful summer flowering trees such as Styrax, Stewartia and Eucryphia. Much of the gardens you see today,
were developed by Lord and Lady Cavendish over the last 40 years. The gardens are now entering a new phase with their daughter Lucy Cavendish and her husband, Tor McLaren, now starting to make their own mark with the help of Head Gardener Matthew Murgatroyd.