The Feniscowles garden where history is growing
PUBLISHED: 17:17 29 June 2011 | UPDATED: 21:35 20 February 2013
The history grows on you in this Feniscowles garden, as Linda Viney reports
When David and Kathleen Paintin fell in love with the garden of their dreams 13 years ago they set out on a journey of discovery of their new home Stockclough at Feniscowles.
David had always wanted a wood and the seclusion of the grounds at the large stone cottage ticked all the boxes. The garden has four main areas, the first is a patio with a blazing log fire converted from two outside privies and coal store. As I arrived Kathleen appeared with a tray, offering coffee and muffins which were toasted by the fire, perfect on a damp cool day.
A master butcher and gourmet sausage maker, David has now semi-retired though works harder than ever with a new business in the pipeline. He has always loved gardening and when they lived above the shop he would spend every spare minute in his grandfathers garden.
He entered horticultural shows and was eventually asked to become a judge to give others a chance of winning. He was also on the Oswaldwistle Garden and Allotment committee but gradually the society lost all the volunteers, a sign of the times maybe. Kathleen is also semi-retired but works with a number of charities.
This is the site of the old jam-pot factory and we still have some of the old ledgers, David said. I hope to make the old wooden building into a potting shed one day. The Chorley railway line ran along one side of the plot until the Beeching cuts, so there is a lot of history here. When we moved in, a 100-year-old lady told us how the ladies in their long dresses used to come to the old greenhouse here for afternoon tea.
As we cleared the land we have found large stones, old paving slabs and various tools and wood lying around and anything will be recycled. I also beg anything people are throwing out, from plants and building materials, even old carpet to suppress the weeds when we create a new bed. Friends are often bringing us trees and shrubs that outgrow their space knowing well have room and look after it.
The original paving slabs were recycled when they made the patio, blending them in with the added Indian paving to increase the area. A formal pond with fibre optic lighting and planted containers complete the picture with strategically placed tables and seating. Nicely warmed up, we then ventured round the one acre plot, a laburnum hangs down over the steps leading to a large lawn surrounded by mature trees, herbaceous planting adds colour and interest and provides cut flowers for the house.
David wanted a greenhouse and a friend found a roof, surplus from an exhibition, it was much larger than he expected and so the large garden room was built which now houses a fig tree, vines agapanthus and ginger lilies as well as a hot tub. A patio area is now being added outside to make another area to escape to.
Mown grass or bark paths meander through the garden. At the far end is a wild garden with a large wildlife pond and fern-lined woodland walk.
Some may say it is too wild, Kathleen said. But we love nature and feel it blends in perfectly with its surroundings. We started with a piece of wildflower sown grass from Wiggly Worms which we laid, but we worked out it would be rather costly to cover this whole area, so we have sown seed and planted the small plants hoping they will gradually self seed. Some of the wild flowers were already here and the bluebells have been spectacular this year.
A digger was brought in to dig the pond which is lined with butyl, again it was created to attract wildlife and frogs, toads, newts and dragonflies soon made their home here as do ducks which manage to have two broods a year. Natural planting softens the edges and Kathleen and David are considering whether the indigenous mixed hedge should be neatly trimmed or left more natural.
In summer the Paintins are completely self sufficient in vegetables and fruit, the patch where they are grown is protected from deer by a netted fence - a lesson they learned the hard way.
David loves propagating - the hedges have been grown from cuttings and most plants are grown from seed in the greenhouse and hanging baskets, using home-made compost.
David and Kathleen have opened in the past for various charities and for the first time this year they are opening their garden for the National Garden Scheme on June 25th and 26th, from noon-5pm, admission 3, children free.
Visit our garden
Linda and Toni Hankins have been working frantically to prepare their garden for the public on July 2 and 3 as part of the National Gardens Scheme.
They have developed their one and a half acre garden, at Davenport Farm, Arthur Lane in Ainsworth, near Bury, over the past 15 years with formal lawns and borders, a mini woodland walk, secluded niches to sit in, two ponds, a vegetable garden, a recently planted orchard and a newly constructed orangery. For more information call 07710898332.