The National Gardens Scheme recognises private gardens of exceptional merit and currently has 3700 listed gardens, from stately homes to semis. These are opened by their owners to the public on selected dates. A small entrance fee, proceeds from refreshments and plant sales all raise money for charity. In 2010 these open days attracted 750,000 visitors and raised over £2.5 million for good causes. “We will be open from two in the afternoon to six in the evening on both dates and look forward to welcoming fellow gardeners to have a look around and a chat,” Linda explained.
The Davenport Farm garden has been developed by Linda and Toni over the past 15 years. Toni recalls, “When we moved-in, the house had recently been renovated and the garden was laid to lawn. During the first hot summer we watched as several large brown oblongs appeared in the lawn. On investigation we found these to be caused by the floors and foundations of previous out buildings that were only minimally covered with topsoil. I hired in a road drill to break up the concrete and imported 400 tonnes of topsoil to give depth and re-grade so that we could create the new garden.”
The current garden has something for everyone. There are formal lawns and borders, a mini woodland walk, secluded niches to sit, two ponds, a vegetable garden, a recently planted orchard and a newly constructed orangery. Toni recently hired in a mini excavator to create two deep trenches that he filled with rich topsoil and manure to give the apple and pear trees a good start. Davenport Farm is on the 160 metre contour, that’s more than 500 feet above sea level, the site is therefore exposed to strong winds, subject to late and early frosts and has a lot of rainfall.
“Most of my career has been in electrical engineering, building and running Rowe Hankins, the Bury based rail systems engineers. I became chairman, and stepped back from day-to-day running of the business in 2010 and this has given me more time to devote to the garden. Linda and I are delighted to have been accepted into the National Gardens Scheme and are currently working all the hours we can to present the garden at its best and make the day as enjoyable as we can for our visitors.”
Linda and Toni Hankins, Tel. 07710898332 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Davenport Farm, Arthur Lane, Ainsworth, Bolton, BL2 5PW
High resolution images are on the web at www.ainsmag.co.uk/
# # #
All the gardens in the National Gardens Scheme are listed in their Yellow Book. For this and for more information about the NGS please consult their web site www.ngs.org.uk.