Out and About

We have a teeny tiny campervan that we bought with the intention of using it mostly for short stops of one or two nights, but Covid put paid to that last year and even when campsites began to re-open it was without communal washing and toilet facilities. We were in danger of not using it this year either, so about a month ago I sat down and worked out when we could string a couple of days together when the Golfer was not golfing (which as Captain of his club’s Seniors this year was not very often!) and put some dates on the calendar. Last week, therefore, we had an overnight stop and a couple of days in Cheshire or thereabouts, mostly visiting gardens, and starting with Tatton Park.

Above is the Italian Garden and below are the Fernery, striking topiary and a world-renowned Japanese Garden:

Moving on to Arley Hall I was delighted to see the famed double herbaceous borders, full of late summer colour, but even more so to meet up again with blogging friend Anna of Green Tapestry, and Himself:

We had timed tickets to visit the new RHS garden at Bridgewater near Salford the following afternoon, which restricted our options for morning visiting elsewhere, but I was well-pleased with my choice of Abbeywood Gardens. Presumably popular as a wedding venue, the relatively small gardens were intensely planted and immaculately maintained, creating endless photo opportunities for happy couples:

Our final visit, to RHS Bridgewater, was the main reason for our trip and, being a member of the RHS, I have been following its progress from inception to its delayed opening in May, so it was fascinating to observe the progress for myself. Originally due to open last year, the Covid-related delay meant that early planting had more time to mature, but the garden will be a work in progress for a number of years. Not surprisingly it was very busy, despite the restrictions arising from timed tickets, although the continued drizzle may have reduced the length of people’s visits.

The most obvious progress has been within the walled garden, but there are already a number of trials taking place, as there are in other RHS gardens, and a considerable amount of groundwork had been done towards creating a Chinese Streamside Garden, in conjunction with the Chinese community in Greater Manchester. A grant of £1.8m was received from the Lee Kai Hung Foundation, to be spent on the horticultural and landscape development of the garden, as well as promoting the art, heritage and culture of Chinese gardening within the local community and beyond.

Overall, an enjoyable two days for a garden lover and a garden liking Golfer, despite the weather – so where to next?

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21 Responses to Out and About

  1. Thank you, Cathy, for this amazing walkabout. It really did me good to see all these amazing places!

  2. Linda Casper says:

    Thanks for sharing. Will definitely add to my to-visit list.

    • Cathy says:

      Of course gardens can be very seasonal, so the borders at Abbeywood and Arley may look very different earlier in the year, but were certainly better than I might have expected for mid August

  3. Pauline says:

    Thanks for bringing back lots of memories from when we lived in the North West, so many lovely gardens with late summer flowers, what a wonderful couple of days you must have had!

  4. Cathy says:

    Wow, you packed a lot into two days! It all looks wonderful… just being able to get out and see gardens again is great, isn’t it! Now I see where that Persicaria is that you posted the other day…. glorious in such quantities. 😃 In fact, the planting in the whole of that garden is very appealing.

    • Cathy says:

      Probably less than we would have packed in a few years ago, although more than our next short trip – and stopping o/n makes it easy to manage

  5. Heyjude says:

    Nothing like a good garden fix for gardening addicts! I watched the development of Bridgewater on the TV – an amazing job! We are hoping to visit a few gardens next week, once the crowds disappear!

    • Cathy says:

      Oh I forgot to watch that programme – wonder if it is still on IPlayer? I have read about it in the RHS magazine so some of it seemed familiar and I am pleased to have seen it at this fairly early stage

  6. Paddy Tobin says:

    You are very fortunate to have such gardens available to you. I enjoyed Abbeywood and Arley Hall very much when we visited.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes Paddy, indeed we are lucky – all of these gardens are near enough for a day trip and there are lots more we could have gone to just in Cheshire alone

      • Paddy Tobin says:

        We based ourselves in Cheshire on two occasions for garden-visiting holidays. A lovely area.

  7. Very impressive, and your photos are lovely. I’m missing garden visits, so I need to get out there again. 🙂

  8. Brian Skeys says:

    I am very found of Tatton and it’s inspiration for our little Japanese garden. Having seen the tv programme Bridgewater is now on the wish list.

    • Cathy says:

      Sadly some parts of Tatton were closed when we visited, like the rose garden. And I MUST seek out the Bridgewater programme on iPlayer!

  9. Anna says:

    Sorry for my late comment Cathy. Always interesting to see gardens you are familiar with through other people’s eyes and also to get a glimpse of the oh so new RHS Bridgewater. Hopefully me might get there in September. It was lovely to see you both again. I’m so sorry that Cheshire didn’t come up with better weather for you. It was abysmal really. I visited Bluebell Cottage Garden with a friend this Wednesday afternoon and the weather was absolutely glorious!

    • Cathy says:

      It reminded me of the meaning of ‘drizzle’, Anna! Glad you were able to do a spot of garden visiting too, and in better conditions!

  10. pbmgarden says:

    So glad you had foresight to plan garden visits! Love the Japanese garden.

    • Cathy says:

      Trying to fit in the days they are open can be difficult – I am trying to plan another one night away trip but the gardens in the area I am looking at all seem to be open on different days!

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