I'm a bit late in describing this garden visit but I'm trying to catch up with posts this week and its definitely worth a visit. Martin and I visited in April on a schizophrenic weather day of mad blustery sunshine and heavy showers, first to one of the iconic sights in the Cheshire countryside, Jodrell Bank near Holmes Chapel.
This is a predominant landmark of the Cheshire countryside, the site has a number of radio telescopes but the biggest seen here is the Lovell telescope, which is the 3rd largest steerable telescope in the world. You realise how big it is when you stand underneath it. It forms the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics which is part of the University of Manchester. There is a small information centre, but not as big as I remember from visiting when I was little! There are some gardens but at the time it was too wet to walk round.
After a lovely lunch in Alderley Edge, home to the football players of Manchester, we went to visit the Apprentice House garden which is in the grounds of Quarry Bank Mill in Styal. This is one of the best preserved cotton mill and has the most powerful working waterwheel in Europe and is owned by the National Trust. The Apprentice house was where all the children lived who worked in the mill, you can have a tour around the house and hear stories of the conditions for the children, that they were taught lessons in a small classroom and all slept in tiny, straw mattress filled beds. Its a fascinating tour.
But there is a vegetable garden attached to the house which was my real reason for the visit. In it they have tried to limit it to vegetables that were grown in early 1800s, plus herbs, medicinal plants and dye plants. Its a delightful little garden with small raised beds and paths in between.
The garden also grows medicinal herbs, including plants to repel insects, and also plants grown for their natural dye, such as woad and madder. The young apprentices would have helped in the garden but now I'm sure its reliant on a number of NT volunteer gardeners but it would be a lovely place to work.
This is a garden to visit through the year to follow the progress of the vegetables. At the time of my visit it was still mostly just the winter and early spring crops like garlic, kale and leeks but I'm sure now it will be really coming into its own.
I also recommend, if you have time, to visit a small but lovely nursery in the main village called Croftland nursery.