Gardening - Sunny days ahead in Whitechapel
PUBLISHED: 00:16 18 February 2011 | UPDATED: 18:54 20 February 2013
Our gardening expert looks forward to more long sunny days such as the afternoon spent enjoying gardens in the tiny village of Whitechapel
The poet Shelley asked: If winter comes can spring be far behind? After the winter weve had lets hope he is right!
Weve survived the freezing weather and now we can take comfort from the fact that bright sunny days lay ahead. Then we can venture outside and take stock of the garden to see what has survived and what we have lost.
For those who open their gardens for charity, whether as part of the National Garden Scheme (NGS) Yellow Book or local good causes, preparation is all important.
Every year I wonder at the care and attention that is shown by enthusiastic gardeners round our beautiful county, opening their gates for us to enjoy. Can there be a better way to enjoy an afternoon than take in the beauty of their plots?
For those that open like St James Church, at Whitechapel, near Beacon Fell, it brings people together in a somewhat isolated community where they dont always have the opportunity to meet up with their neighbours.
Villagers who open their gardens will visit each other and after the big day often have a celebration barbecue, swapping stories of how it went. St James Church even went to the trouble of creating a calendar which feature the gardens and this added to the fundraising efforts.
Whitechapel gardens, pictured on these pages, also annexed a few from nearby Inglewhite and Goosnargh. John Parsons explained: We dont open every year as it takes a great deal of persuasion and organisation. Last year was the third year out of the past seven we opened.
It has always been a success and we were very lucky with the weather.
As with all village openings there was a vast range of gardens to visit from ones created out of a field to smaller cottage style gardens. Situated in the shadow of Beacon Fell the majority had made full use of the beautiful backdrop surrounding them.
Chickens were another attraction and visitors could gather tips for vegetable growing in keeping with last years Dig Your Own campaign.
There were water features from small ponds to natural streams. Colourful herbaceous, traditional roses trained round doorways, not forgetting shrubs and trees with evergreens ensuring there was something to see all year round. Care and artistry were in evidence with the use of texture, colour and form. Situated in the countryside wildlife was encouraged with bird feeders and nest boxes in nearly all the gardens. I must have had the best value cream tea in the world, sitting in the sun in a beautiful garden - it was heavenly.
Although Whitechapel arent opening this year there are still other villages and Lancashire Life will be publishing a monthly panel of recommended places to visit. Villages and individual gardens are also listed in the famous NGS Yellow Book which will be available direct from the NGS as well as at good local bookshops from the middle of this month. Gardens always evolve and it is a great opportunity to gather ideas, some have plants for sale propagated by the owners not forgetting delicious home made cakes.