Every year, SGC members go on an annual trip to an RHS garden. This year we went to the new garden near Salford: RHS Bridgewater.
Thirty six SGC members and friends dressed for the weather in sunhats, shorts and bright holiday clothes set the tone for a relaxing and interesting visit to the RHS newest garden on Saturday, the 9th of July. Some came for a restful day’s break, one found herself trying out a mobility scooter (very successful), others wanted to see what the programmes on TV had promised. We all came away with ideas and new garden resolutions.
Approached along an extensive drive with wildflower verges, the focus of this RHS garden is very much about encouraging wildlife, about mixing veg with insect- friendly wild flowers, and about water. The winding Chinese stream walk was a great delight, with vibrant colours, the sounds of water and rustling grasses. The stream was fed from the large tranquil Ellesmere Lake with delicate pink and white lilies , mallards and ducklings , surrounded by a large woodland area. Many areas have log barriers to slow flooding and provide damp habitats.
In the old Potting Sheds, methods of flood mitigation were explained, and there was an exhibition of the history of the site and of the current community outreach activities. Many of these were highlighted in the huge walled garden where community plots created by different local groups could be seen. Elsewhere the 11 acre Weston walled garden contained a Mediterranean, an American and an Asiatic areas plus a Kitchen garden mixing insect friendly plants with the vegetables, and a fabulously colourful Paradise Garden. The newly planted orchard area had hundreds of trees whilst mirror-like formal ponds continued the water theme.
Animals were not neglected either, with specialist chickens, an apiary and an area for “nature’s best biological ploughs,” pigs! These rare breed Berkshire pigs, since 2018 have helped clear the site of weeds and undergrowth, as well as unearthing rubble and useful debris such as the stone walls which had surrounded the Ellesmere lake ! Butterflies and bees were all around in the grassland areas and in the flower gardens. Swooping swallows and jaunty pied wagtails completed the picture, particularly around the lake surrounding the restaurant and garden shop.
A very cheerful group returned with an easy motorway ride home.