Sunday, 15 May 2011

NGS Garden Visit: Hazel Cottage, Armathwaite

Bit cloudy and threatening to rain but the weather held and didn't spoil a very interesting garden visit. Situated on the other side of the county I was accompanied by Country Bumpkin - well, as I almost had to go past her door to get to the garden it would have been rude not to stop and pick her up!

The blurb claims this is a 5 acre garden but we reckoned there was just over 1 acre under cultivation. But what cultivation - one of the widest selections of herbaceous perennials I think I have seen in Cumbria, all looking very lush and verdant and will be an absolute delight later in the summer when much will be in flower*. The planting is, however, split into two distinct sections. Mixed borders occupy about two-thirds of the area we visited and the other third is a delightful stream-side walk. If you click on the picture below I've tried to show how this is laid out.

Some of the planting was extremely clever - a small section which had a footpath running through it was planted with what many people would think of as weeds and wildflowers - it looked gorgeous.

Not sure what the underlying structure was but covered with moss & coloured (cornus?) twigs held on with florists wire it was very impressive.

We never did decide if this was Japanese Knotweed, the clump behind this little shoot was certainly tall & dense enough.

Glorious Hawthorn - Crataegeous Laevigata 'Crimson Cloud'.

Another favourite from the day - Viburnum plicatum "Lanarth" (and credit to CB for identifying it).

Whilst CB and I were full of admiration for the garden, neither of us would want it. The mainly herbaceous borders will look great in summer but in winter they're going to be very bare - and winters are long, wet, cold and dull up here. The stream-side path is utterly captivating and beautifully planted but it's a long way (uphill) from the house and there is no way you can see any of it from indoors or near the building.

The other thing which put us both of was the obvious amount of work which the owners must put in to maintain the standard of this garden. We reckoned it was a full-time job for both of them and that's fine if you have no other interests ...

A difficult garden to show well in photos. I shall take the video camera next time and hopefully capture its style and quality.

* the garden is open again on 17th July, a must for the diary.


  1. The herbaceous borders are fab, but I see what you mean about it might be a bit bleak in winter - perhaps it is so glorious for 6 months that the other is less of a problem for the owners?

    I do love that red hawthorn jobby (not something that I've seen before) but in particular the photos of the water pond/walk are my favourite part from what you've shown.

    The more formal bits of the garden are a bit at odds with the surrounding countryside in my eyes (but perhaps that is with the severely cut lawn - a day or two later and it would soften, I think?)

    With regard to Japanese knotwood - I follow a blog of SA hortaculturalist living in Brooklyn who is a real foodie, and she's just done some JK recipes - will dig out links & email you, for interest.

  2. It does look beautiful, but I kept thinking of how it would look in winter and also of the amount of watering that would be needed in dry spells.

  3. Hazel - you've hit the nail on the head - some of the formal stuff was at odds with the countryside whereas the stream-side walk was perfect.

    There was some JK cooking on Countryfile recently - I was not impressed, discussed on Veg Heaven recently.

    Sue - I don't think you could begin to start watering this much garden!


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