Spring Gardening Holidays                      

May 11th - 16th 2014             

June 1st - 6th  2014  

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.

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


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 and since then extra pieces of land have been acquired.  The result is a charming garden composed of compartments including a wildlife pond, shrub area, cottage garden borders and 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. 

Hall Senna
This 1.5 acre garden is close to the West Cumbrian coast and was created in 2000 from a field to provide a wide range of features.  Chris and Helen Steele have produced a garden with year round colour and built many delightful structures to provide interest throughout the year.  Shelter from damaging winds and salt spray is provided by trees and sandstone walls enabling perennials to thrive in island beds, hostas to flourish and sun-loving plants to enjoy the sunken garden.  There are several specimen trees and a fruit and vegetable garden which is Helen’s pride and joy.  The garden has featured in Cumbria Life magazine.

Holker Hall
The immaculately kept 25 acre gardens at Holker Hall, home to Lord and Lady Cavendish, are stunning throughout the year.  For our spring visit the Rhododendrons should, weather permitting, be at their most spectacular.  Grand formal gardens, including the elliptical and summer gardens, are situated near the house beyond which lies the distinguished woodland garden.  The wildflower area and labyrinth are fairly recent introductions and the latest large scale development is the Pagan Grove, an oval amphitheatre bowl descending into the ground.  Holker holds a National Collection of Styraceae as well as many rare trees and shrubs which thrive in Holker’s west-coast climate.

Broomhill, Windermere
The 2-acre garden of Utah Potter wraps around the house which was designed by Thomas Mawson (better known for his garden/landscape designs).  This superbly cared-for garden has been replanted over the years, with well maintained lawns, camellias, an extensive range of rhododendrons and azaleas, many interesting acers, trees, shrubs, hostas and a stream planted with stunning primulas and other moisture loving plants.  Utah shares his garden with a family of badgers.

Gresgarth Hall
Gresgarth Hall is the stunning garden of the internationally renowned, Chelsea Gold Medal winning garden designer Lady Arabella Lennox-Boyd.  Covering 12 acres this beautiful garden situated on the banks of a tributary of the River Lune includes a wealth of features including terraces, lakes, a small bog garden and an extensive kitchen garden with an elaborate potager.  Perfectly maintained, the garden has been likened to a series of garden stage sets and is home to more than 6,000 trees and shrubs. 

8 Oxendale Road, Kendal
John and Francis Davenport have created a garden with year round interest.  Approximately half an acre in size the garden runs all round the house and includes two small ponds, woodland plant areas and a gravel garden at the front.


‘Plant Hunting in Bhutan’  -  Alan Oatway  (May 13th)
An account of a three-week visit to Bhutan, which allows for a look at the character of this most distinctive of countries before taking a close look at the plants seen during a two-week camping expedition through very unspoilt country.  The trek went from sub-tropical forest to high alpine terrain at over 5000 m, and the talk discusses the plants in the context of their habitat.  Alan a retired teacher of Mathematics and Outdoor Education is heavily involved at the Lakeland Horticultural Societies garden at Holehird where he is secretary.

‘Plant Hunting in Yunnan and Sichuan‘   Shelagh Newman     (June 3rd)
A description of an expedition to this mountainous region of China to collect seed and a look at the people and culture of the area.  Shelagh will also look at some of the plants from that area which we grow in our gardens.  Shelagh has for many years been heavily involved at Holehird.  She is an expert in Rhododendrons and Hydrangeas and a general plantswoman.

Gardeners Question Time with David Haigh and Iain Turnbull

Iain trained at The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and graduated with the Kew Diploma and since 2007 he has been Head Gardener at Rydal Hall, Ambleside. The formal gardens which are undergoing restoration are one of the finest examples of the work of the celebrated Lakeland gardener designer, Thomas Hayton Mawson

David Haigh
has spent over 40 years as a professional horticulturalist, 30 of those in horticultural education, lecturing in the UK and Lesotho (Southern Africa) before his last position as ‘Head of Horticulture’ at Newton Rigg College, near Penrith.
He is a ‘Master of Horticulture’ - a qualification awarded by the Royal Horticultural Society - and is now semi-retired, dividing his time between freelance garden writing, lecturing, running practical training courses and hosting gardening holidays.  To keep his hands dirty he tends two allotments where he grows a wide range of crops - his other great passion is cooking and this usually involves using the produce of his plots.



All prices are per person for the 5 night holiday and include morning coffee, full English breakfast, 3-course Dinner and VAT @ 20%. 

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



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