Holehird Gardens in Windermere are run by the Lakeland Horticultural Society and this was our first garden visit on the recent Members’ weekend. Founded in 1969 these gardens have been developed, managed and maintained exclusively by volunteers. The site has grown to 17 acres and volunteers are encouraged to develop their own gardening style for the beds they care for. Result – the gardens look good throughout the year.
This could account for the Society membership of 1800, with 250 actively involved in the gardens and running the charity.
There are three National Collections held by the gardens; Astilbe, Hydrangea and Polystichum. Although early in the season there was still evidence of the care put into the collections and who wouldn’t be happy looking after the Hydrangeas on the drive with a view like this behind them?
The Astilbe collection, awarded Scientific status in 1999, was the winner of the Brickell award in 2003 for horticultural excellence. The LHS is the International Registration Authority for Astilbe with the responsibility for registration of new cultivars and maintenance of records of the origin, history and characteristics of each cultivar. Looking down on the beds from up the hill the beds looked like a grove of acers because of the shades of green and red. Close up the leaves are beautiful.
The Polystichums were unfurling in the upper part of the garden and as with all of the other collections the plants were well labelled.
Several of the members of the North West group are volunteers at Holehird and I saw Glenn Shapiro beavering away with a wheelbarrow, taking the opportunity to do a quick job while she was there. She also told me that the lavatories have an unmatchable view down over the valley to the Langdale Pikes, it must be the best sited facility in the country.
We reluctantly met up to go on to our next garden with first-timer visitors like me pledging to return soon and locals asking themselves why they don’t go there more often. Here are a few more images to keep you going until you can get there.