Thursday, 12 August 2010

The Secret Garden - Sharon and Howard's Plant Nursery at Whitworth Hall

Howard and our president, Maureen

God loves a trier and Sharon and Howard have made their dream profession of running a plant nursery come true. Having been turned down by many people with suitable venues and also from Whitworth Hall once - the letter got into the wrong intray - they applied a second time and their perseverance and passion paid off, they now run their nursery in the Walled Garden at Whitworth Hall,
Sharon, explaining about old apple trees

Durham Soroptimists were invited to go there and have a tour and talk this week and fifteen people gathered on a perfect evening and in the lengthening shadows Sharon and Howard told us about how they had acquired the place, reglassed the greenhouses and are now setting about turning the walled garden into a nursery where old kinds of plants will be brought back  including up to a hundred and fifty different kinds of apples. 

Nurture is the key word, they grow everything themselves - unlike the many supermarket type places where the plants are bought in. 

The gate open into Lady Margaret's garden which was supposedly made for her by a lover.

You can get plants at Sharon and Howard's nursery you don't see in many other places, which is part of the fun and you can walk around and take in the scent of oregano ( laden with bumblebees as it is in flower ), lavender, rosemary, lemon balm, see the beds where different kinds of apple will eventually flourish, taste figs and peaches in the glasshouses and choose from the many plants ( it proved almost impossible for some of us that evening and we kept dashing about changing our minds! ) to brighten our own plots.

Glasshouse with Sharon and Kate

Pat, Alwyn and Margaret gathered at the old well which is going to be a magnificent fountain in time.

I met Howard a couple of years ago when I got his name and telephone number from a friend and he came to cut the hedges in my back garden. I wanted him to cut the grass but only if he would take my lawnmower home with him as I had nowhere to keep it, the shed having recently fallen down. Who else would house one's lawnmower??

He also introduced my garden to chicken manure pellets, particularly pungent after rainfall but miracle worker for the good of the plants. He said, 'how would you feel if you never got fed?' 
The walled garden at Whitworth Hall is one of those special places where magic can really happen and it did on Monday evening, while the sun shone, the plants thrived and later we walked through the deer park, the deer so obligingly looking up and posing for photographs and fifteen of us walked into the bar and ordered various meals.  They didn't know we were coming but within half an hour we were sitting in their glorious conservatory, the deer and sheep only just visible in the gloom, eating fish and chips and watching the blue lights which came on to brighten the scene.

The money made from the evening ( which was Sharon and Howard's idea, they gave their time free and gave ten per cent of sales ) will go to our President's charity, and help people who have leukemia and we will have happy memories of August in the walled garden.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely place and special evening for you all. Nothing like an English country garden in a grand hall.