Breezy Knees Garden, York
If you were at the May meeting where Don Witton gave his excellent and amusing presentation on ‘Once Seen Never Forgotten’, you too may have been interested in hearing about Breezy Knees Garden near York.
We happened to be spending a few days in Flamborough, Yorkshire the following week and by altering our route home only slightly maaged to fit in a visit to this fascinating garden.
Quirky is the word which comes immediatley to mind, interesting and unusual also fit the bill. We spent several hours there and it was nowhere near enough, we had to rush to get our delicious cream tea in before closing time. (The café, visited several times during our time there) was excellent and unlike so many places stayed open almost until the gardens closed. There was a superb nursery too, for once selling many of the plants we saw around the gardens instead of the same as every Garden Centre in the country and prices weren’t too expensive either!
It was quite a long walk along ‘The Rabbit Path’ to the garden proper and they do try to keep the rabbits out! A splendid gate allowed you in to start on a circuit of the garden rooms, which seemed to get bigger and bigger as we went on. They had some lovely names such as Stonehedge, a version of Stonehenge made up of pillars of clipped beech, and plenty big enough to lose yourself in. A June Garden a May Garden, a September Garden, Rock Garden, Pond and Shade Garden, Cottage Garden and many more, 20 in all. There was a garden with fountains in which started up every 4 minutes and performed for 2 minutes with different patterns and comfortable seats to sit and watch from too.
There was a 15 foot sculpture of a pair of wellington boots in one garden and a matching 15 foot trowel in another. Lots of metal sculptures and other interesting features all around.
One place I was determined to see before we left was ‘The Rogues Gallery’, I could not imagine for the life of me what would be in there. It turned out to be an area planted up with all those thugs of plants you planted because they looked so nice but then wished you hadn’t because they take over your garden, we have quite a few of those ourselves! Their sign read’ Rogues Gallery, so called because all the plants here, whilst attractive, are very invasive and if planted in normal borders would soon swampeverything around them. However, hopefully here they will meet their match – their neighbours may be even bigger thugs than they are!’ Love it! We must go back and see who wins.
The garden was started on arable farmland in 1999 and was planted first with a framework of trees, hedges and shrubathamanta turbiths and then as those began to provide some shelter work began on the borders and garden rooms and is still ongoing. It is called Breezy Knees because it is very exposed “and if you stood there in January, you wouldn’t ask why it was called that!” It is only open from May through to September for that reason. It is one of only a handful of British gardens with a current 5 star Trip Advisor rating and is situated on the eastern outskirts of York, some 5 miles from the city centre.
Thank you Don, for enthusing about it in your talk, and introducing it to us, a place well worth a visit by anyone. But leave plenty of time!!
Sue and Trevor Wray
A captivating after dark, illuminated trail.
Set to ambient music, you will follow the trail as it meanders through the historic Coombe Abbey Park. Stunning lighting elements and light play will guide you along the way, punctuated by approximately 13 wow moments/highlights.
The trail is approximately 2.4km long and (depending on how quickly you walk through) will take circa 60-90 minutes to complete.
Warm up by our fire pit, where you can toast marshmallows (purchase your marshmallows on site or bring your own marshmallows and skewers) and indulge in some of the food and drink offerings available to purchase at the Kiosk in the Park located by the Top Pool (approximately half way around the trail)
Please note that the entire trail takes place outside (obviously during winter and after dark). It will be cold, dark and often wet! Please wrap up warm and wear sturdy footwear.
Tickets for sale at September and October meetings or contact a committee member.
Tickets MUST be booked and paid for by the end of October as they have to be paid in advance.
Details for the trip
Visit to: Coombe Abbey Christmas Lights Trail
Date: Wednesday 29th November
Leave Opposite Rectory, Church Way 3.15 pm
Arrive Coombe Abbey 4.45 pm
Start Trail at 5.00 pm
Leave Coombe Abbey 7.00 pm
ETA home 8.00 pm
WFGS Members - £27
Non WFGS Members - £29
Food and drink will be available to purchase at the Kiosk in the Park located by the Top Pool (approximately half way around the trail)
You can warm up by the fire pit, where you can toast marshmallows (purchase your marshmallows on site or bring your own marshmallows and skewers)
Please note that the entire trail takes place outside (obviously during winter and after dark). It will be cold, dark and often wet! Please wrap up warm and wear sturdy footwear. A torch. Might be a good idea!
Toilets at beginning and end and by the kiosk in the middle.
Weston Favell Open Gardens
Sunday 2nd July 1.00-5.00 pm
Another successful Open Gardens is under our belts. We were so lucky with the weather, warm and dry, not too hot and not too cold just a bit windy at times but then nothing is ever perfect, though the gardens were just about perfect.
We had nine gardens open in the end, as one had to withdraw at the last moment, and what a huge variety there was, large and small, manicured and wild, unusual plants, colourful plants, fabulous views across the valley, unusual water features and statues and all sorts of ponds. We had over 400 people and many children visiting and all said how much they enjoyed the different gardens. What is more all the gardener hosts enjoyed the afternoon too, it is very rewarding to share one's garden and hard work with so many appreciative people. Several have asked to join in again in the future.
As usual we had delicious home baked cakes to complement our refreshments, and the fascinating bonsai display to look round in the church hall, along with the hedgehog stall and a huge tombola to enjoy. Again our lovely church was open for people to see the flowers, listen to our talented organist playing and rest awhile from all the walking.
The allotments appreciated having many visitors too who were able to look round, buy some plants and see the new centenary plaque unveiled by Bob, the longest held plot holder we know of to date. (He also won prizes in many categories at the Village Show last year and entered almost every single class for fruit and vegetables, experience shows!)
We had such a successful day that we raised £2600 for Home-Start a charity supporting families with young children.
Thank you to all our members who so generously donated home made cakes, lovely tombola prizes and who visited on the day.
You can view the pictures in our Gallery
My Favourite Season in the Garden
We plan to hold another photograph Competition this year. We will exhibit all photographs at the Christmas meeting in December after judging by Sarah Fraser. Sarah is a regular photography judge for us having taught photography for many years. Her comments are always thoughtful and constructive. We look forward to seeing an array of Seasons at November’s meeting. Please see entry form below for rules and regulations. It makes it more interesting if you give your photo a title if you can think of one!
The details for the entry form are below, but printed copies of these will be available for you to fill in when you bring your entry to the November meeting
Photograph Competition December 2023 - Entry Form
My Favourite Season in the Garden
Phone number: ______________________
Title of Photo: ___________________________________________________
Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places
Entries should be on photo paper, size 7” x 5”, unmounted
Name, telephone number and title of individual photo on the reverse
1 entry per person
Entries in at November society meeting together with entry form to be handed in to Sue Wray
We are lucky this year to have booked two well known speakers for the Garden Society this year, Tony Russell on ‘2000 years of British Garden History’ in February and Tom Hart Dyke with a talk entitled ‘Plant Hunter and Gardener with Passion’ in November.
Here are some details about these two speakers which might interest you.
Tony Russell is a BBC writer and broadcaster and former Head Forester of Westonbirt Arboretum and editor of the annual publication ‘Gardens to Visit’. He gives many entertaining talks and lectures to Garden Societies, Horticultural Societies and other clubs around the country. Many of them are about the various gardens he has visited in the UK.
I have been fortunate enough to hear him speak twice, unfortunately the same talk, but I enjoyed it as much the second time around as the first and very much look forward to hearing him again as he is a very entertaining speaker.
Tom Guy Hart Dyke is a renowned plant expert, plant hunter and TV personality. He
Is also patron of the British Cactus and Succulent Society and has been a great supporter and advocate of the Society.
Tom first shot to fame in 2000, when he was unfortunately kidnapped for nine months in the Colombian Jungle on a plant hunting expedition that went dangerously wrong. After Tom’s return to his ancestral home of Lullingstone Castle in Kent, he and Paul Winder wrote the best-selling book ‘The Cloud Garden’ detailing their experiences in the jungle. Tom’s jungle antics - building gardens in the mountains, much to the annoyance of his captors – cemented his reputation as a ‘plant nut’.
Since his release from captivity, Tom has been busy building the ‘World’ in his back garden at Lullingstone Castle, commandeering his granny’s 18th Century Walled Garden. The idea of the World Garden was born out of a time of despair while in captivity. His dream garden contains the plants he has collected from across the globe, planted out in their respective countries of origin.
In this fascinating talk Tom will discuss his interests and great passions with stories from an exciting (perhaps too exciting at times?). This promises to be a very entertaining evening and we are lucky to have speak to us.