Herbaceous border

The Old Hall, Hollinside Farm.

On 16th July 2014, at the kind invitation of the owners John and Rose Gaul, we enjoyed, in conjunction with members of the Snods Gardening Club, an informative and entertaining evening at Hollinside Farm.

Entrance name carved in stone

Hollinside Farm lies on the B6296 opposite Hollinside Terrace, between Lanchester and Satley, Co Durham, but is set back from the road. It is a very old building, dated 1710, but has more modern extensions.

People talking in front of the house
Decorated water spout

The present owners have gone to great pains to renovate the building, and have made extensive use of recycled materials, all in keeping with the general architecture and character of this delightful property, and have really acquired some perfect additions.

Wall-mounted sun dial
A reused church font now a beautiful planter.

This font was salvaged from a disused chapel at North Shields, and cleverly repurposed.

An antique sun-dial on pedestal.

A lovely antique sun-dial on an ornate pedestal.

Fountain worked by natural water pressure.

The fountain operates entirely by the natural water pressure of a local spring higher up the hillside.

The two outer constructions below, as with all the others built with recycled materials, were erected at opposite sides of the garden with relaxation in mind, as the one with twin pillars receives the morning sun, while the other with twin arches, enjoys the evening sun. Therefore, when work and weather allow, the owners can relax at their leisure amid beautiful surroundings.

Roman pavilion style sitting area
Victorian pavilion style sitting area

The formal layout of the front garden (above) contrasts greatly with the wilder more rampant plantings of the garden at the side of the house.

 Formal style front garden
Photo of side garden
Photo of side garden
Photo of side garden
Photo of side garden

Behind the house, the theme continues with the use of recycled artifacts, all exceptionally well designed and laid out to complement the main building.

Plantpot on stone table
Garden seat under pergola

The carved wooden statue is at the right of the garden seat.

Ornamental domed pergola with small raised pool
Antlers on outhouse wall
Bird bath on pdestal carved as a pelican
Inside the Greenhouse
inside the Greenhouse

Even the roof doesn't lack it's own decoration, including the permanent pigeons!

Weathervane on roof
Bust of man's head on roof
Ornamental pigeons on chimney
Stylised dog in old chimney pot
Close up of stylised dog
The Farmhouse seen from the greenhouse

And now we move inside the house which is as just as interesting as the outside.

Storage compartments to hold househood goods
Antique chest of drawers
Jug with motto

There must be an awful draught coming through that window!!!

Head & torso bust wearing scarf
Ornaments on mantlepiece

Isn't it amazing the things that people can put into bottles?

Carvings inside glass bottles
Carvings inside glass bottles

Like all good things, our visit finally had to reach it's end, so just a couple of final shots before we leave, thanking our hosts sincerely for a very entertaining evening.

Welsh dresser
Clock in attic area

Sunday Morning at Moorside Allotments

On Sunday 31st August 2014, in conjunction with members from Snods Edge Gardening Club, we enjoyed a guided tour of the award winning Moorside Allotments, on the edge of Newcastle Town Moor.

In addition to our tour, our hosts, committee members Krys and Tony, also provided us with tea, coffee, and a selection of delicious home made refreshments.

Group of people talking

Due to natural drainage from the Town Moor after heavy rain, some of these allotments are prone to flooding. Because of this, a lot of the allotment holders have resorted to using raised beds. Although these do not cure the problem, they do significantly reduce the damage caused by the flood water.

Allotment garden
Allotment garden
Allotment garden
Allotment garden
Allotment garden
Allotment garden

The committee are committed to helping community gardening, and with the aid of grants have created a special area of raised beds suitable for disabled gardeners.

Area for disabled gardeners.

They also have a garden dedicated to a somewhat fluctuating population, often asylum seekers etc, who are encouraged to participate in this community project. Quite often the gardeners are of varying nationalities and 'gardening' is their only common language. Because of the nature of the changing attendance however, this is still very much a 'work in progress', as can be seen here.

Allotment garden
Notice board.

While taking into account protection for the crops being grown, Moorside is nevertheless a 'wildlife friendly' site. Foxes and rabbits are regularly seen and they even have their own resident parakeets! There is also an active effort being made to help sustain the rapidly declining bumble bee population, by the provision of a special 'Bee Garden'. Something we should all think seriously about!

Notice board.
Bee hive.

While on the subject of bees, several plots on the site have hives on them. This one is an African design, and although it was empty at the time of our visit, the owner is hoping for good results in the future.

Bee hive.

As expected on allotment gardens, there is a wide range of fruit, flowers and vegetables grown.

Apples on tree
Rosehips on bush
Tomatoes in greenhouse
Allotment with greenhouse and sunflower
Apples on tree
Flower of vegetable marrow

There are also quantities of flowers grown for cutting for the house.

Though sadly past it's best, this sunflower measured more than 18" (460mm) across.

 Giant sunflower
 Dahlias growing in an allotment.
 Sweet Peas growing in an allotment.

This final garden has 3 greenhouses, and the plot holders use it mainly for raising seedlings and growing them on, for themselves, for sale in the Trading Hut, and to supply to other gardeners who don't have the provision to raise their own.

 Allotment garden with 3 greenhouses.
Solar panel on roof of toilet block.

Watering is never a problem, as there are taps approximately 20 yards apart throughout the site, accessible from every garden. They even boast a toilet block (adjoining the disabled garden for convenience), which has hot and cold running water. The power is supplied by a solar panel on the toilet block roof.

Sign saying Weed Sanctuary

And, this, the final shot from our visit, is my personal favourite. Seeing this, made me feel so much better about my own garden!!!