Tag Archives: gardening

William’s childhood garden is looking glorious again

19 Sep

Our head gardener, Amanda Thackeray, with her Cumbria in Bloom certificate.

September is a lovely month to enjoy the heritage walled garden that provided William Wordsworth with life-long inspiration. Stroll among the ripening apple trees, admire the changing colours and breathe in the fresh riverside air.

The garden was severely flooded last December courtesy of Storm Desmond, but – thanks to a great deal of hard work by our head gardener Amanda and her team – it’s looking fabulous once more. As a result, we’ve just been awarded Cumbria in Bloom’s prestigious County Chairman’s Rose Bowl for 2016.

Listen to some poetry on the summerhouse audio player as you watch the Derwent, Wordsworth’s ‘fairest of all rivers’, flow by. If it’s sunny, relax on a bench or we can lend you a rug. You might even like to bring a picnic – or you could get a takeaway from our café.

On Tuesday 20 and 27 September, Amanda will lead special tours at 11.30am. These are always popular and places are limited, so if you’d like to join her, please arrive in plenty of time.


William’s garden is blooming lovely

23 Jun

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High summer has always been a glorious time in the heritage garden that helped inspire William Wordsworth to become a poet, and, despite suffering severe flooding last December, this year is no different.

Thanks to the tireless work of head gardener Amanda Thackeray and her team, every corner is once again filled with heady scents and vibrant colours.

The profusion of old-fashioned shrub roses has to be seen – and smelt – to be believed. The large pink, white and crimson blooms of Rosa Mundi, which dates back to the 12th century, jostle for space alongside the crimson rose of Lancaster, also known as the apothecary’s rose, and Quatre Saisons, one of the oldest roses, which has an unusual second flush of flowers in late summer.

Amanda says: ‘It’s taken a tremendous amount of effort, but I’m thrilled to say the garden is looking lovely. And with the roses in bloom, it’s the perfect time to visit. It’s difficult to imagine now that on 5 December the whole thing was engulfed by several feet of muddy, silty water.

‘The flood cost us a lot of plants and left us with a huge amount of cleaning up and replanting. A few areas are still awaiting replanting with herbs, but the bulk of the work is done now and the rest will happen shortly.’

Wordsworth House’s flood ravaged back garden last December

The flood ravaged back garden at Wordsworth House

Amanda continues: ‘One of my favourite sights at the moment is the shrub rose Burnet bursting into bloom along the terrace walk where William and his sister Dorothy loved to play. It really is beautiful with its masses of creamy-white flowers, and once the flowers are finished they’re followed by sumptuous black hips.’

Our head gardener Amanda Thackeray

Wordsworth House head gardener Amanda Thackeray smelling a rose

Amanda is very proud of her colourful geraniums too. She says: ‘We have everything from subtle white to cool shades of blue and a whole array of pinks. Geraniums are an amazing genus as they flower for a long period. My particular favourite is the shocking pink Geranium Patricia.

‘I also love Valeriana officinalis, or common valerian, which has heads of sweetly scented pinkish-white flowers and pops up throughout the garden.’

Seven brilliant reasons to visit Wordsworth House

8 Jun

June is a wonderful time to be out and about in the Lake District, and there are few better ways to spend a day than to visit Wordsworth House and Garden, birthplace and childhood home of one of the world’s favourite poets.

Here are seven very good reasons why…

  1. It’s your last chance to see Beatrix’s drawings

William Wordsworth isn’t the only Lakeland literary legend we’re celebrating this year. 2016 is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Beatrix Potter. Without her foresight in buying and protecting large areas of the Lake Disctict and, later, gifting them to the National Trust, this beautiful part of the country wouldn’t be the place of respite and refreshment it is today.

This month is the last chance to see Two Bad Mice: Mischief in Beatrix Potter’s Tales, a major exhibition of her artwork at Wordsworth House. If you haven’t been yet, make sure you visit before 30 June, to revisit the magic of childhood through more than 20 of her beautifully observed original illustrations.

  1. William’s garden is looking glorious

June is also one of the very best months to enjoy the lovely heritage walled garden that provided Wordsworth with life-long inspiration.

Head gardener Amanda Thackeray will be leading tours on Tuesday 14 and 21 June at 11.30am. These are free with entry to the house and garden, but groups are small and places are allocated on a first come, first served basis, so please arrive in plenty of time.

  1. You deserve a special treat

Our shop is packed with lovely gifts and souvenirs – you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to treating yourself or a loved one.

When you’ve finished browsing, our cosy café serves indulgent cream teas, so why not join us for a cuppa and a homemade scone topped with clotted cream and jam? Independent blog National Trust Scones says ours are ‘divine’! We also offer light lunches – including local delicacy Morecambe Bay potted shrimps – and lots of lovely cake.

  1. You can hear about Two Wild Children

Every Wednesday and Saturday in June, at 11.30am, the costumed servants will be giving a special ten-minute talk entitled Two Wild Children, about how the natural world shaped both Beatrix and William.

  1. Our artist is in residence

On Friday 17 June, there’s a chance to join our artist-in-residence, Sarah Kate Smith, to try your hand at sketching or painting the kind of kitchen and garden objects Beatrix delighted in. To book your place in this friendly art class for all abilities, email wordsworthhouse@nationaltrust.org.uk or call 01900 824805.

  1. Even the toilets have had a makeover

This year we unveiled a new visitor welcome area and Discovery Room, with a permanent exhibition about William’s Lakeland legacy and his key role in the founding of the National Trust.

There’s a new 10-minute film playing in the cellar about how William and his sister Dorothy changed the world, and – following last December’s devastating flooding – even the toilets have had a dramatic makeover.

  1. The drive is Britain’s best

If you’re travelling from the central or southern Lakes, Cockermouth is around 45 minutes from Ambleside – and the drive on the A591, through the fells and along the side of Thirlmere, is officially Britain’s best!

We look forward to welcoming you to Wordsworth House and Garden very soon.

Industry in the garden

18 Jun
Coal tits feeding in the Greenup's pippins

Spot the birds: Coal tits feeding in a Greenup’s pippin apple tree

Amanda loves the early morning, when all’s quiet in the garden and she has a chance to stop and observe the creatures we share this beautiful place with.

Last week, she happened to be carrying her camera when she saw a gathering of coal tits in the Greenup’s pippins. She was especially happy to see them as they were busily feeding their young on her aphids!

Early mornings are also a time when she can take a few minutes to reflect and plan. On a recent stroll, when she was thinking about all the positive comments from visitors about the roof slates she has recycled into labels for the fruit trees, she decided to extend the scheme to include some of the more unusual and striking varieties of perennials.

Although the idea was hers, her handwriting is not up to the task, so her lovely volunteer Kat has taken up the pen once more. She’s been enjoying the job so much, she’s even taken slates home to write at night.

Here are some of the fruits of her labours…

Slate label: Angelica

Slate label: Teasel

Slate label: Globe thistle

Glorious garden tours

5 Jun

If you’re going to be in the Cockermouth area in June, why not pop along and join one of Amanda’s fascinating garden tours?

Come and meet Amanda and explore our lovely garden

Expert: Come and meet Amanda and explore our lovely garden

She will be showing groups round at 11.30am on Mondays June 10, 17 and 24. Numbers are strictly limited though – so get here in plenty of time!

Here are some pictures to whet your appetite…

Roses, lavender and snapdragons

Blooming gorgeous: Roses, lavender and snapdragons

Peony with Solomon's seal

Perfect petals: A peony with Solomon’s seal

Elegant: Aquilegia, or Granny's bonnet

Elegant: Aquilegia, or Granny’s bonnet

A blossom-filled bridal bower

29 May

Amanda's shed with crab apple blossom

Amanda’s shed is usually a fairly utilitarian place, but now that the crab apple blossom is out, it’s been transformed into a glorious pastel bower.

The fallen petals dusting the path make it look as if a wedding party has just passed by – which is especially timely as we’re just about to celebrate our first weddings of the year here.

On Monday afternoon, we’ll be welcoming bride Zuzana and groom Peter, while next Friday, Kerry and Richard will be tying the knot. I am so excited – and I really hope both couples will have a picture taken with me! To find out more about our wonderful wedding packages, simply click here!

There’s certainly no shortage of lovely photographic backdrops in the garden at the moment…

Keswick Codlin in blossom

Amanda thought you might also like to see some of her new crocheted bugs in situ…

Crochet ... Boris the spider

Crochet … Boris the spider

Crochet ... Gwen and Keith the snails

Crochet … Gwen and Keith the snails

Apple trees, newts … and an enviable glasshouse

13 May
The glasshouse at Acorn Bank

Nestled among the herbs: The glasshouse at Acorn Bank

The National Trust garden at Acorn Bank, near Penrith, is a very special place. It has a massive range of fruit trees, especially apples, many from around this region – as well as a fascinating herb garden, and a pond inhabited by crested newts.

Sadly, there’s no perchcrow – or even a scarecrow – but it’s still a wonderful place to visit, if you’re in the area.

Amanda and her volunteers had a brilliant training visit there last week. She tells me that she especially enjoyed seeing their glasshouse, which has been recently restored.

It has really encouraged her in her fund-raising push to recreate a Georgian glasshouse here. It won’t be cheap – as all the glass will have to be specially made – but it will be a beautiful addition to our garden.

If you’d like to donate, please get in touch!

A plethora of herbs at Acorn Bank

Stunning display: A plethora of herbs at Acorn Bank

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