Friday 8 November 2019

Pictures of a church and a garden

Churchyard always open, church open all day
When David Beckham scored the goal, John Giles got the picture. As a professional sports photographer the poor man trudged the world attending almost every major sports event. World cups by the dozen!
He has been trying his hand in the cemetery garden theming the church through the year
He is married to Jackie Giles.

Jackie is the lady who leads the Bolton Percy churchyard team. Readers will recall that the garden cemetery has been restored to its finest since I hung up my boots. (Well they still dangle when several times a year they call me back to zap a few weeds)
John has been trying his hand with church photography and I am privileged  to publish some of his fine pictures.

Another fine photographer Peter Williams well known to my readers has at last got to see the cemetery garden - and sent me more pictures

I have patched together a few gardening notes to go with these fine photos.
I hope the pictures persuade any Northern readers to add Bolton Percy to their garden visits for next year. The churchyard is always  open and free and the fine 15 Century church is unlocked every day. It is worth the visit just to see the millennium window and nearby is Doylys tearoom and within  three miles Scotts fish and chips (famed in Japan) or the Sun Inn at Colton.

Still a working churchyard we have visitors throughout the year. Sadly a few fail to see the garden across the road from the church.
I planted the rose 'Nevada' forty years ago. It declined as the my rooted cutting of Leyland Cypress grew into a monster. Since the tree was cut down - the cross was carved from the trunk - the rose has thrived.
The rose is on its own roots and not grafted so there is no problem with suckers

The cross has mellowed as the wood has weathered
Abutilon vitifolium (left) is a short lived shrub in our Northern climate. It might attain ten foot high and survive perhaps ten years before its demise. It sets seed in most years which gently self sow. This is the great grandchild of my original plant.

Thermopsis is a real thug but lovely. I remember 25 years ago Jackie had me spray it out of her garden as it was taking over!
I love it.

You can see annual plants and short lived perennials are allowed to self seed. At times plants such as the green euphorbia get out of hand. I have a long list of such plants as Viola cornuta, montia and unfortunately(!) celandine that have held dominance and now are scarcely seen.
The Geranium macrorhizum has been a stalwart for forty years

Peter's pictures
After 15 years of knowing Peter Williams I finally got him to see the churchyard garden. He visited the cemetery with a West Yorkshire Hardy Plant Society group one very wet evening and unfortunately got very few photos!

You can see it was wet
Over the years my self sown birches have been much photographed as a back cloth to portraits.
My policy was that at this size or lesser I cut them back to the ground and they sprouted again. Some of the birches are in their third reincarnation

Folk always asked why the hostas were so snail free. I never used pesticides other than glyphosate
I think Gardener's Garters is very handsome

Phuopsis  is a very fine ground cover. In my day it tended to provide cover for cleavers. It is weeded out now
Euonymus is an overlooked shrub that can be pruned hard to reshape or rejuvenate. Several specimens were started by just sticking in unrooted cuttings

Over the years many fine professional photographers came to the cemetery. Indeed in the early days they beat a path to my door. Most of their analogue pictures are lost. Marianne Majerus was kind enough to give me pictures from her library for this previous post. Go to her own  website and you will find fifty more.You will find several previous churchyard posts by clicking Bolton Percy in my theme column
Most of the plants I have mentioned before. Use my search box to find them

Bolton Percy pictures on Marianne Majerus website


  1. I think it's time I revisited the interesting village of Bolton Percy which also boasts riverside pub, café and old house

  2. These are beautiful pictures, and if Bolton Percy was easy to reach by public transport from Ripon, I'd definitely come for a visit next year.

  3. If only most graveyards could be like this....gorgeous.


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