|Weathervane House is open|
Sunday 5th May, noon until 5pm
Peter and Julie have developed their garden over forty years. Since Peter’s retirement, he has had the time to put ‘icing on the cake’ by extending his existing fine range of beautiful and rare plants. Most of his five acre garden can be inspected next Sunday. Much of the garden is in woodland, where well managed, lovely trees provide structure and protection for underplanted shrubs. These, in turn, give background and shade to an understory of naturalised herbaceous plants and bulbs.
The garden is furnished with some spectacular garden features and adornments. Peter is a craftsman in wood and his summer-house is a sight to behold. Unusually for the York area where the soil is generally alkaline, at Seaton Ross it is acid and Peter’s garden is full of acid loving plants. Next Sunday is a particularly fine time to see his azaleas, rhododendrons and magnolias, This peculiar season has telescoped together a large range of normally seasonally divided plants. A delightful feature - especially if it rains - is a very large polythene tunnel, where not only is there an extremely fine display of plants, there is also a wide range of exciting plants for sale.
But let Peter’s own fine pictures now do the talking.
General garden view late April/early May
Mixed rhododendron and azalea bed in early May
General garden view early May
Mixed azalea bed
Thirty years ago, when you travelled north on the motorways, unsightly pit slag heaps painted a dreadful image of the North. Not any more! A huge national effort was made to restore the colliery remains. Peter, as a post-doctoral research-fellow at the University of York, studied and researched the recycling of colliery spoil. The team in which he worked provided much of the information needed for the successful restoration project. Although a wide range of ecological and horticultural management principles were involved in the process, perhaps the most significant was adding huge quantities of lime to counter the extreme sulphur-derived acidity in the waste. Peter tells the story of how he recently took a post graduate student to study the ecology on a twenty year old reclaimed site. A measure of his success was that it had merged into the natural landscape so well that he failed to find it!
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has recently adopted one of the reclaimed sites as a Nature Reserve at Water Haigh, near Wakefield!
Plant propagation is one of Peter’s passions. In particular he grafts rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias, cut-leaf maples, fruit and much more. I once mumbled to him that I was not very good at grafting! He responded that it was as easy as sharpening a pencil!Brenda and I looked at each other and the unspoken thought was “have you ever seen Roger try to sharpen a pencil?”
Formerly principal lecturer at York St. John University, Peter is an ecologist, plant physiologist, soil scientist, statistician and gardener. When you see his garden, I suspect you will guess which he loves best. He is a friendly gregarious Welshman. Be sure to to talk to Peter and Julie if you can get to their Open Day!
You will certainly enjoy Julie’s fabulous cakes!