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Summer Visit to Breezy Knees Garden, near York

Sunday 18th August 2024




Over 20 acres of award-winning gardens bursting with colour throughout the summer. This one of the largest gardens in the North of England with over 7,000 different varieties of plants to discover.

“A beautiful modern garden created on the grandest possible scale.”

Explore sweeping herbaceous borders, a cottage garden, annual meadows, a lake and arboretum, rock garden, fountains plus a fragrant rose garden.  The gardens remain packed full of colour throughout summer, supplemented by seasonal highlights, such as irises in May, peonies in June, roses in mid-summer and the late summer blooms of the August and September Gardens.  There is a well-stocked nursery and café!

The coach will leave Holloway at 8.30am and depart from Breezy Knees at 5pm. Cost will be between £25 to £30 depending on the numbers going.

Please add your name to the list if you would like to go on the visit.  Family and friends are most welcome, you do not need to be a member of DLHHS to take part in the visit!

to the Members Page.

Please send any news or notes that you would like to add to this website page to

Fiona Folan -

Vivien Neely has sent us the attached description of the development of her orchard in Upper Holloway.



vivs orchard.jpg


clockwise from top centre:
Sue Green
Cathryn Frost
Andie Smith
Chris Hibberd



Vegetables for small Gardens 
Jeff Bates

Friday 13th October 2023

Jeff Bates gave a really interesting talk about growing vegetables -and not only in small gardens!

He was keen to stress the advantages of growing our own produce, from everything to well-being for us gardeners and the better taste of veg from our own gardens. He is an advocate of the 'no dig' method: he pointed out that the top 4 inches or so of soil is the most fertile .

These are a few of his ideas worth remembering:

  • Use cloches to warm up the soil and also to keep pests away from young plants

  • Plant buckwheat as both a soil improver and to attract pollinators

  • Jeff recommends Kestrel or Osprey as a good choice of pest-resistant 2nd early potato

  • Plant over-wintering green manure such as Hungarian grazing rye to improve soil

Beautiful Welsh Gardens:
Dyffryn Fernant and Picton Castle
Fiona Folan

Dyffryn Fernant is a very beautiful 6 acre garden just outside Fishguard in Pembrokeshire. It has been created by Christina Shand from 'six acres of bog and rock'. We have had talks at the society about the 'right plant in the right place' and here that theory is seen in action, from the Azalea Bank to the Bog Garden to Hopeful Wood. 

One of the best things about the garden for me is the way it blends into the surrounding landscape of rocky heathland. It's full of surprises, in the planting, the layout and the sculptures in amongst the plants.

The pictures show the Chilean Flame tree -a spectacular sight! and one of the sculptures with the garden, house and countryside beyond.

Throughout the garden are little corners and combinations of plants that would suit any garden.

Dyffryn Fernant is well worth a visit, but if you're not going over that way then have a look at the website: or find them on instagram.

It is an RHS partner garden.

Picton Castle is a much bigger site with sweeping lawns and big statement trees around the castle itself. It's a very peaceful spot, and plenty to see in the walled garden: interesting herbs, a beautiful lily pond and lovely borders. In another part of the grounds there's a collections of owls to look at too!

Earthed Up!
Janet Morrison

I’ve just had a fascinating visit to a small plant nursery called Earthed Up at Belper Lane End. It’s not a conventional nursery,  and is completely fascinating. It’s a co-operative, and grows and sells a selection of plants that are useful/edible, many of which I’d never heard of (but the knowledgeable gardeners there will explain how they can be used). Some we perhaps have traditionally thought of as weeds, but in fact can be useful. The people who run it are also really keen to help gardeners understand soil health, and garden in a way that promotes healthy soil.


As well as selling plants, they sell peat-free and wool-based compost. I was interested in the latter, having read about it but never having had chance to see or touch it. The people at Earthed Up have had excellent results from and plants grown in it don’t need additional feed through the season. I’ve bought a bag of wool-based tomato compost home, and I feel a little comparison experiment coming on!


Have a look at their website if you would like more details, or maybe go along and have a look and a chat with them.

Cathryn Frost










The Moss garden at the Giouji Temple Kyoto

This moss garden was one off the tourist track so we could really enjoy the sense of serenity whilst walking through the  mosses.

It was interesting to think abut the differences between the way we think about moss - mainly  as a weed that ruins our lawns but in Japan there are over 200 different types that are kept manicured and are highly prized. The Japanese people prize moss so much they have common names for many varieties such as "hair cap, pincushion and rock cap". Moss is very sensitive and will only grow in the right growing conditions which is why you will see gardeners removing every leaf or other plant from the moss itself to keep the growing conditions optimum


Called Koke in Japanese, moss  is an integral part of most Japanese Gardens, lending a feeling of antiquity and harmony to the garden; it knits rock to earth and pulls individual plants into unified compositions. As moss absorbs sound and exhales moisture, it produces a calming quality. Something to think about is that it is also very helpful in filtering pollution out of the air.

For at least 1,000 years, Zen monks have celebrated its presence in written descriptions of temple landscapes.


This temple that we vsited, is Gio-ji Temple. It is a quiet temple surrounded by trees and a luxuriant moss garden. The trees grow quite densely, and the temple is often covered in deep shade. Inside the temple, however, is a statue of Dainichi Nyorai, the Buddha of Light. Other statues are connected to the temple's place in Japanese history and literature.


The temple was named after Gio, a dancer from long ago who fell in love with the Heike Clan's powerful leader Taira-no-Kiyomori. When he ended their relationship, Gio retreated to this temple to spend the rest of her life as a Buddhist priestess, along with her sister, mother, and another of Kiyomori's spurned lovers. Wooden statues of the women and Kiyomori are enshrined in the main hall.

Japanese gardens
Cathryn Frost

We have recently come back from a fascinating holiday to Japan. Some of it was spent looking at gardens and I want to share with you over the next few weeks some of the type of gardens we experienced.

The first we visited was the Banryutei rock or Zen garden, the largest in all of Japan. It is in Koyasan just south of Osaka and the associated temple, the Kongobuji Temple, has been a destination of pilgrimage for over a thousand years
Over 100 large granite stones dot the 2,340 square metre garden, which depicts two dragons rising from a sea of clouds. The dragons are charged with protecting the temple. The stones were imported from the island of Shikoku, Kobo Daishi’s birthplace. The temple was initially created by Kobo Daishi, the founding father of a type of  Buddhism called Shingon , in 816. The smaller white rocks are from Kyoto. This garden was only built in 1984, but its size and beauty are famous around Japan.

The idea of the Zen garden is that it creates a miniature stylised  landscape through carefully composed arrangements of rocks, water features, moss, pruned trees and bushes, and uses gravel or sand that is raked to represent ripples in water. They are  commonly found at temples or monasteries. As a garden, it is usually small, surrounded by a wall or buildings, and is usually meant to be seen while seated from a single viewpoint outside the garden.  Many, with gravel rather than grass, are only stepped into for maintenance.  They were intended to imitate the essence of nature, not its actual appearance, and to serve as an aid for meditation

Over the next few weeks I'll be telling you something about other gardens we visited.

RHS Harlow Carr
member Vivien Neely visited in April 2023

Harlow Carr is a RHS garden just outside Harrogate (to the Southwest).  It takes about an hour and a half to drive without traffic from here.  It’s a lovely walk from the city centre up through the Valley gardens which takes approximately 1 hour.  There are things to see in the valley gardens too and a very large playground to entertain kids.

We’ve been several times to Harlow Carr, but what’s in a name?  Carr means wet boggy ground, typically a place where willow and alder flourish and which lies partly or seasonally underwater.  With this in mind it’s unsurprising that there’s a lake and a magnificent stream running through the middle of the gardens, slicing the formal beds and landscaped planting from the magnificent woods.

This garden seems to constantly being changed and developed with a new project every time we visit.  At the moment the area to the north is being developed around an old pub/nightclub (I’m told it was a goth hangout 20 years ago!) to incorporate it into the gardens as a new cafe. It’s needed though, as even with two Betty’s tearooms in the gardens, queues can get long on beautiful days.

The heather area by the entrance was at its best when we visited




There are several small former show gardens with loads of ideas before you reach the lake at the top.










In the woods on the other side are three play areas – the treehouse is the favourite in our house and there are also loads of charming areas which are worth exploring.


The stream is so vibrant in the summer but not at its best in spring so I didn’t take any photos

At the bottom end is the arboretum which has several longer term plant trials including Betula and clump-forming bamboo

Then you walk back up towards the large greenhouse through a magnificent veg garden and collection of rhubarb, before you see the best view of the herbaceous borders and back to the exit


It takes several hours to go around the gardens and the atmosphere is well worth taking the time to savour, maybe with a brew!

Spring Equinox in the Garden
Chris Hibberd

Traditionally, as we talk of looking forward to spring in the garden, our attention is taken up by the succession of flowering bulbs, beginning with the snowdrops. This progression takes us through the last months of winter and into early summer when varieties of tulips are still stealing the show.

In my garden, I have always focussed on year-round interest which means winter-flowering shrubs, so my attention is on the middle and higher layers of the garden. Around 18th to 20th March this year (Spring Equinox), I noticed that my spring flowering shrubs were just beginning to kick into action – nature’s beginning of the spring season. I was interested to see how many spring-flowering shrubs were just beginning to show their potential at this time of equinox. Winter flowerers are holding onto the last of their blossoms, whilst the buds of the spring flowerers are starting to burst open.

Here are a few examples:

 Lonicera fragrantissima with a haze of bulging flower buds on the Blackthorn by the garden wall. Magnolia stellata opening ready to steal the show.

Masses of flower trusses beginning to show ready for opening -Amelanchier lamarckii (Snowy Mespilus); the trusty long-flowering winter Viburnum bodnantense alongside.

Osmanthus burkwoodii showing its highly scented blooms opening. They’re well set off by the deep evergreen foliage. Another specimen of Viburnum bodnantense can be seen beyond it.

Other Spring shrubs just showing now:

Ribes ‘White Icicle’ – first flowers which have a nod to winter in colour and name.

Rhododendron praecox – the traditional first Rhodo, although R.Christmas Cheer has produced an early show this year which still continues.

Corylopsis spicata bravely opening its first flower. I read that this shrub needs a sheltered position, growing best when sheltered from strong winds. This must be the reason why mine is struggling in our open plot, whilst they have a beautiful specimen in Lea Gardens just two fields away!

Cheanomeles speciosa ‘Nivalis’. This specimen has benefitted from its position alongside the house. Another specimen against the field wall is just opening (as in the theme of this piece), but this was a better photo!

Meanwhile, the Sarcococcas and Hellebores continue to delight and take us through into Spring.

Never previously, have I been struck by the co-incidence of the equinox with the flowering of many spring shrubs. It seems we’re never too old to not only learn, but to appreciate afresh.

Dave and I joined the Horticultural Society in 1987 and I think it was take

Dave and I joined the Horticultural Society in 1987 and I think it was taken soon after.  I seem to remember David Jones (centre) was chairman, Marjorie Thoday, who we all know, is left of picture and Mary Barling, a keen gardener and clerk to the Parish council for many years is on the right.   David and Marjorie were founder members and maybe Mary too. 

This may be of interest to our members?

n soon after.  I seem to remember David Jones (centre) was chairman, Marjorie Thoday, who we all know, is left of picture and Mary Barling, a keen gardener and clerk to the Parish council for many years is on the right.   David and Marjorie were founder members and maybe Mary too. 

This may be of interest to our members?

Jan Scott found this photo which dates from when she and Dave joined the Horticultural Society in 1987. 

David Jones (centre) was the chairman (thinks Jan). On the left of the picture is Marjorie Thoday, and on the right is Mary Barling,  a keen gardener and the clerk to the parish council for many years. 

David and Majorie were founder members of the society -was Mary as well ?asks Jan.

Some lovely colourful baskets would have decorated the village that year!

Do any other members have pictures they would like to share?

From the archive

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