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Gardening Group 2015
Gardening Group Archive
Gardening Group

The gardening group is a small group which meets in each others' houses and gardens, and visits nearby public gardens.
Meetings are held monthly, on the third Wednesday in each month.  Nearer the dates, confirmation details of meeting times/place will be sent to group members by email and letter.


Click on a link below for report on visit

JAN 21ST 2015 – ANNUAL LUNCH –  MEET 11.40 at Torkington Park, or go direct to Platform One, Romiley, for 12 NOON  contact Carol Harrison to confirm attendance, and in case meal time changes.              
FEB 18TH   2015 – VISIT TO HOPTON HALL  MEET 10 AM. Garden fairly flat, but some paths difficult for wheelchairs. Tea Room. (garden entrance  £4)  (34 miles, petrol cost  £14 per car) – contact  Walter Mason (NB. If Winter conditions makes travel to Hopton difficult – an alternative will be arranged).
MAR 18TH 2015  -  JANET VOCKING’S HOUSE 10 AM -  contact Janet Vockings
APR 15TH 2015 – VISIT TO WALKDEN GARDENS, SALE  MEET 11AM. Garden flat. No refreshments or toilets. (garden entrance – free) (10miles, petrol cost £5 per car)   – contact Irene Chappell
15TH 2015- WALKDEN GARDENS AT SALE MOOR - optional snack/lunch at Sale Waterpark.
MAY 20 ST 2015 –  VISIT TO STONYFORD COTTAGE.  MEET 10 AM. Tea room/toilets/nursery. (garden entrance £3.50, or various tour/food options possible) (28 miles, Petrol cost £12 per car). Some slopes and gravel paths, and 2 bridges  - contact Carol Harrison.
June 17th - meeting 2pm at Walter’s house - strawberries and cream!

July 15th – visit to Chatsworth House Gardens - meet 10am at Torkington Park
High Lane Cream Tea Visit
AUG 19 TH 2015 - VISIT TO LYME HALL GARDENS. MEET 11 AM. Garden is half flat, half undulating, with steps to some parts. Tea room/Cafe. (car charge £6, garden entrance £7, NT members free), (4 miles, petrol cost £2)– contact Irene Chappell.   

SEP 16TH 2015 – VISIT TO WENTWORTH CASTLE GARDENS. MEET 10 AM.  Garden has flat areas and gradual slopes. Cafe. Gift shop. (£5.50, includes parking charge, some concessions for NT + RHS members  ), (34 miles, petrol cost £14)– contact Walter Mason  
OCT 21TH 2015 – PAM REED’S HOUSE VISIT MEET 10 AM. -  contact Pam Reed

Seven travelled in 2 cars on the pleasantly scenic journey to Hopton Hall, near Carsington, one of the few large snowdrop gardens within reach. The weather stayed fine, although with a cool breeze, as we followed the directed paths into swathes of snowdrops with patches of orange aconites, then through the formal gardens not yet sprung into spring colour, round the recently created attractive pond area, by the laburnum arch, dovecotes and eagle sculpture, and returned through more snowdrop woodland. Snowdrops there had been in abundance, and the soup, scones and sandwiches had been very welcome in the tea rooms; so the visit made Spring seem well on the way.

Next meeting is 18 March at Janet’s house, when we will try to suggest how Janet can  make her North-facing and sloping garden easier to arrange and manage.


Warm sunshine greeted our group of 9 at Janet’s house. Fortified by coffees/teas/biscuits we explored the 4 levels of the garden, which were full of interest. Seasonal crocus, iris, daffodils and hellebores gave splashes of colour, and prominent sculptures drew the eye. Signs of fox and badger activity could be seen in places, not uncommon in this area. Many unusual shrubs and trees were dotted around, as the garden descended towards Torkington Brook, with a backdrop of tall Poplars and lesser trees. We envied the lovely situation, but found it harder to give useful advice on linking the levels together without the use of steps. The group exchanged a few cuttings and admired a display of hellebore and camelia flowers


Our group of 7 were amazed by the “hidden gem” of Walkden Gardens, near Sale Moor. Harry Walkden’s 1949 bequest of 7 acres of fomer plant nursery  to the people of Sale has eventually been developed since 1970 by Trafford Council into an imaginative garden of 18 individual sections, or rooms, separated by beech hedges. The design was originally influenced by Hidcote Gardens, and required much determination by local people, and still does, now with the help of  The Friends of Walkden Gardens, to maintain and improve it.

The trademark circular Dovecote building was transported brick by brick from Sale Old Hall, and re-erected. Notable features in this beautiful and varied garden, called “The Maze”  by locals, were the 70 foot wisteria arch, a tranquil Japanese Garden, the herbacious walk, fuchsia garden, conifer garden and the beech circle.

Although early in the year, there was plenty to see, particularly the many magnolias and a splendid selection of double camellias. Unusual shrubs and evergreen plants caught our eye, even if we could not identify them all. It was easy to get pleasantly lost and lose bearings in the array of different “rooms”, and we were amazed that such a lovely place was still free, in this day and age! Our visit was nicely rounded off  by tasty meals in nearby Sale Water Park.

Click on image below for larger picture.


Early rain had cleared as our 11 in 4 cars arrived at Stonyford Cottage Gardens and Nursery, near Delamere. All agreed it was a very pleasant visit, to a Monet style green and watery poolside garden. Paths wandered around, islands were linked by smooth bridges over the pools, choice plants caught our gaze – candelabra primulas, trilliums, geums, perennial geraniums, and comfreys in particular. Interesting trees formed a backdrop – from “wedding cake”dogwoods, and delicate acers, to young specimen metaseqoias. Later, after a homemade lunch in the warm tearooms, the sun brightened our second walk round the garden, and tempted us to buy from the many good quality plants in the nursery area.

All in all, a very good visit to a garden, which seemed new to most.

June 17th - meeting 2pm at Walter’s house - strawberries and cream!
Unwelcome heavy drizzle greeted eleven garden group members for Walter’s strawberries and cream afternoon. Happily, the rain stopped long enough for a tour round the garden, with oriental poppies, candelabra primroses and iris sibirica particularly catching the eye. A striking clump of off-white camassio was admired, but less so when its tendency to spread vigorously was disclosed. A common problem, as plants often grow, either too quickly, or not quickly enough!
The rains restarted eventually, but by then the strawberries were ready, and the rest of the afternoon passed by happily.

July 15th – visit to Chatsworth House Gardens
5 of us drove to Chatsworth on a gorgeous summer’s day (St.Swithins Day!). We had a super time, including two coffee/cake stops in the refurbished Stable block quadrangle.
First we viewed one of their gardeners taking geranium (pelargonium) cuttings, admiring his skill at inserting surprisingly small shoots into soggy compost-filled Jiffy bags. Shortening of the leaves, a dip in rooting powder, and that was it!

Next we had a free guided tour of the gardens, which proved very informative and enjoyable. Although most of us had visited Chatsworth in the past, there is always plenty to see - and next year the addition of the award winning Chelsea garden to be displayed.
Among this year’s floral highlights were giant cowslips, inulas, and eremurus, but really, at Chatsworth, flowers take second fiddle to statues, fountains, the striking large avenues, and the gorgeous views; which we all thoroughly enjoyed.

High Lane Cream Tea Visit
There were 9 at the visit to 21 Scafell Close, High Lane (opened the previous weekend under the NGS yellow garden scheme). An interesting garden, quite narrow in places, with different styles running seamlessly one into another. Plenty of colour especially in the themed annual sections each with their individual colour, a large pond area, and some healthy looking vegetables to arouse our admiration. A number of striking flowers caught our eye, especially two beautiful dahlias, a patch of pondside houtenya, a lovely pink lacecap hydrangea, and several attractive clumps of phlox. On the other hand, perhaps there were too many self-seeded evening primroses, and the garden didn’t quite gel as a unified scheme. But overall we enjoyed the garden, the personal visit, and particularly having a relaxing cream tea as a group.

–    19th August 11am – visit to Lyme Hall Garden (NT cards needed)

Group Leader, Walter Mason
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