"2 people, 4-acres, 6ft rain, 30+ gardening years" was the phrase from the NGS Yellow Book, which acted like a magnet for a visit to Windy Hall, just south of Bowness-on-Windermere in Cumbria last Sunday. The fact that the garden is just a few miles down the road from the caravan was another reason why we could not miss out on a chance to visit. By one of those spooky coincidences 'Gardener's World' got there just before us so we were able to have a sneak preview of the garden on the Friday night before our visit.
According to the friendly welcoming party the GW factor was swelling normal visitor numbers even at 10.45am. We were informed that the BBC crew had spent some 12 hours at the garden which resulted in just a few minutes coverage. With the aid of a well illustrated map we set off to explore the most tranquil and unmanicured of gardens. This is a garden where moss is celebrated rather than eradicated. There was certainly plenty to admire including the moss path (top left), the Japanese influenced quarry garden (above and below middle) and a waterfowl garden. The garden also has national collections of aruncus and filipendula.There was excellent cake we were informed and there were certainly lots of folk enjoying their elevenses. However as with alcohol never before lunch is my motto when it comes to cake so we resisted! A plant stall was a different matter with a visit being compulsory even before we set foot in the garden. I'm glad that I did as the geum avens 'Mai Tai' that I purchased was no longer on the sales table when it came to leaving.
The highlight of the visit for me was a remark from himself who looking at a patch of flowers uttered the words "What are those lovely little blue fellows? I was that flabbergasted I can't remember what the flowers were. After 30+ garden visiting years I've finally converted him.
Windy Hall opens under the NGS. Sadly both the 2015 dates are now done and dusted but the garden also opens to visitors by prior arrangement from April -August.