30 Jun 2014

An Open Gardens event

I'm a garden lover, but no expert when it comes to gardening so it's always good to have the opportunity to see other residential gardens and talk to the owners and learn from other enthusiasts.  The UK Open Gardens Directory is a resource for anyone wanting to visit private gardens as it gives all the information of dates and times for each county. It's also useful for a gardening group to advertise an event. Many small garden owners generously take part usually in connection with a village or town event and raise funds for some local project at the same time. When the weather is changeable and there are heavy rain showers it's disappointing for the organisers of any open air Summer event.  Sunday was the better day of this weekend so we decided to see at least some of the open gardens in one of the villages on the outskirts of north Sheffield. The Ecclesfield 'Open Garden Event' had been organised by the parish church and the tickets for a small amount were available there so that's where we went first and stopped for refreshments before starting a tour of as many gardens as we could manage since they were in different parts of the village.

Some kneelers in the church and below a garden themed display

A memorial stained glass window has a series of panels depicting the parables of Nature.

The area around the church has a large grassy and leafy area.  Above is an elaborate former drinking fountain planted out now with bedding plants.

The village stocks

Ecclesfield Priory and the adjoining Ecclesfield Hall - click for more information

We walked to the gardens nearest the church first as the clouds looked as if they were about to bring some more rain our way.  Farmland surrounds much of the village and I imagine it's a pleasant place to live.

I've been on the lookout at the garden centres for a white climbing rose.  Isn't this one a beautiful sight climbing up and over this tree trunk?

All the village gardens looked good even if they weren't open to the public.
Below are some corners of gardens we visited. They were all very different in size and style, but we appreciated each one and the fact that we could visit them.

However, we were also interested in the Community Garden which has been transformed by volunteers from a derelict site adjoining the park, opened in 2012 and now 'enables local people of any age or ability to grow plants in an informal, social and safe environment'. (Information taken from the Community Garden leaflet).

There are raised beds made from treated railway sleepers and filled with local reclaimed soil and organic compost. All plants are grown organically. Produce is sold to local residents and at events to be reinvested in the next season's planting.  Many other plants and equipment have been donated to the project.  There's an outdoor classroom pavilion made by a local firm using local material. Wildflowers have been planted on the membrane roof and rainwater is collected in water butts.

In the orchard area fruit trees were planted in 2013/14 by the Community Group, Forestry Ranger and local children. Here there's a wild flower meadow. Poppies have been planted to commemorate the First World War. On the edge of this area are soft fruit bushes.

Local school children and youth groups have been working on some of the raised beds and containers such as this one (above).

The herb garden was planted up this year.

The garden is self sufficient in providing compost for the Community Garden produced from garden and from household waste brought in by residents, horse manure and leaves from the adjoining park.  It all looks very organised and well worth the visit and chat with some of the volunteers.

27 Jun 2014

An evening stroll

       One evening recently we went over to Castleton in the Hope Valley
       and had a walk around the quiet streets as there were few people around.
We parked by St. Edmund's Church near the Market Place
    where there's a view of the ruins of Peveril Castle high up on a hill. 

We walked along the path by the millstream towards Peak Cavern
before returning to the main street, Castle Street.
Most of the shops were closed, but there were window displays
to look at including the jewellery and other ornamental items crafted from the Blue John
(bleu et jaune) stone, the beautiful dark purple/'blue' and yellow veined and banded
 fluorspar mineral that has been mined in the Castleton caverns since the C18th.

There are eating places in old buildings all with an interesting history.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Inn was one of the earliest ale houses in Castleton.
It was a regular stopping place for horses and riders transporting salt
from the county of Cheshire and the payment for a stay would be in the form
of Cheshire Cheeses. 

We sat for a while before driving back home, 
stopping by Lady bower Reservoir where it was very peaceful by the water....

.....although looking over the stone wall by the dam a bell mouth overflow,
one of two, looked very strange in the growing twilight. 

When we've been here before it has looked very different.

There are several Open Garden events this weekend in our locality where villages are opening gardens to the public. The one at Castleton is called 'Castleton's Secret Gardens'. There's a similar event nearer to where we live so I might go along.