Spring Gardening Holiday                    

May 8th - 13th 2016               

Designed to take in and experience the vibrant fresh colours of springtime in the dynamic scenery of the Lake District, these 5-night holidays include accommodation, full breakfast and 3-course dinner each day. A coach is provided to transport you to the gardens listed below. giving more time to enjoy the scenery.

The garden visits include both large and small local gardens - some of which are not normally open to the public, with a chance to meet their owners and enjoy some beautiful gardens at a lovely time of year.

Con Maguire is your tutor / guide and will be with you for the duration of the holiday to inform and answer your questions.


Windy Hall  
This four acre fellside garden on the hills outside Windermere is the creation of David Kinsman (a geologist) and his wife Diane Hewitt (an ecologist).  The garden is home to two national collections (Filipendula and Aruncus) with a two acre woodland area including many species of Rhododendron, Camellias, Magnolias and Hydrangeas.  An ancient small quarry has been made into a Japanese-style area of moss, ferns and stone. Other features include a wildflower meadow, kitchen garden, moss path and a wildfowl garden with Gunneras and Stewartias.

Yewbarrow House, Grange over Sands
The home of Jonathan & Margaret Denby.  An outstanding example of a new Mediterranean garden, which pushes the boundaries on the range of plants that can be grown in Cumbria. Enjoying fine views over Morecambe Bay and benefitting from the full effects of the Gulf Stream, the garden features a restored Victorian Kitchen garden, Italian Terrace, Fern garden and a Japanese ‘hot’ spring pool. There is also a fine heated elevated conservatory with impressive water features and plantings.

Summerdale House, Nook, Nr Lupton
The home of David & Gale Shields, who have taken over a one & half acre part-walled garden and are in the process of re-development. Varied & interesting range of herbaceous perennials and shrubs, a pond garden, a small gravel garden, woodland planting, an old orchard with soft fruit and a vegetable garden.  There is also a small specialist nursery on site covering a range of unusual herbaceous perennials.

Muncaster Castle
The 77 acre woodland gardens, including a internationally important collection of Rhododendrons, have undergone extensive refurbishment under the guidance of Alan Clark and the R.H.S.  A visit at this time of year will offer an experience not to be missed, demonstrating the wide range of Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Maples, Camellias and a variety of trees & shrubs.  During the visit there is chance to see the World Owl Trust’ collection of owls.

Matson Ground
This very private garden is entered through a gated drive with a large family residence on site.  The gardens are compact (around 2 acres in size) and there has been a lot of recent re-planting and discovering of lost historical garden design elements.  A fine rose garden and well stocked borders delight, plus the walled kitchen garden is well stocked with fruit and vegetables, all sitting within a picturesque surrounding landscape.

Buckbarrow House, Gosport
John Maddison’s garden may be small but it’s packed full with delightful surprises. The first section began life in 1991 - since when extra pieces of land have been acquired - and the result is a charming garden composed of compartments including a wildlife pond, shrub area, cottage garden borders, a natural stream and also a Japanese style garden. John’s garden has featured in Cumbria Life and Amateur Gardening magazines with Acers being the favourite plant of this self confessed plantaholic.

Diane Kinsman
will give a talk about her role in the NGS (National Garden Scheme) within Cumbria and some of the  challenges she faces as county administrator.  The following day we will also visit her garden at Windy Hall.

Gardeners Question Time
A chance to seek answers to any gardening problems with David Haigh, and guest Shelagh Todd.  Shelagh is horticultural Section Leader at Newton Rigg College.  She is very highly regarded both for her horticultural knowledge and for her ability to impart this knowledge.  Over the years she has inspired dozens of students to achieve their maximum potential.

Con Maguire
With an early passion for growing vegetables, his career choice became quite natural - an apprenticeship with a local authority followed by studying at the Scottish Agricultural College and The Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh - from where he holds a first class honours degree in Horticulture.  He then went on to work in the education sector for almost twenty years and is now self employed within the horticulture sector, using his skills and passions to deliver enjoyment to other garden owners.  When not gardening for others he can found trying to squeeze further plants into his own garden on the Solway.


All prices are per person for the 5 night holiday and include morning coffee, full English breakfast, 3-course Dinner and VAT @ 20%.  Non-particiapting partners are welcome at a reduction of £30 on the above prices.

deposit of £150 per person is required for the holidays, which is non-refundable unless the room is subsequently relet; cancellation insurance is available.