Monthly Archives: May 2012

Sunday morning sunshine

Today temperatures are forecast to rise to 26 C. Blue skies and bright light.
A stroll through the woods to the Chapel. An opportunity to visit Chadkirk before the heat burns and wilts; when, perhaps, there’s a chance to enjoy the garden in solitude. As I open the gate and enter the garden, all those slumped forms… for a moment, it seems as if the garden is already busy with visitors who had the same idea. In the space of a breath, a second take.The scarecrows are smiling in the sunshine. In that moment, laughter. Try it for yourself and see…

The impact seems to be the same approaching the garden from the woods. Peer over the wall. A busy scene? No: just the scarecrows hanging out and smiling. I wonder if the families and friends who made the scarecrows know how much pleasure they have given?

Since the scarecrow competition there have been seven days of sunshine and warmth, seven days of rapid growth. Some of the herbs have added so much foliage and flowers, the beds are transformed. Only three weeks ago, on the May gardening Saturday at the start of the month, there were areas of bare earth in this herb bed. Now the sweet cicely fills the space.

When the team of volunteers return to garden on Saturday 2nd June they will be able to enjoy the welcome sights and scents of the garden….before getting out the tools to prune and hoe, weed and water. While there’s work to be done, there’s also the joy of gardening and the pleasure of good company.

More scarecrows, friends, families and other animals

And here’s a couple of cuties that didn’t come to see the scarecrows…the photo is here just because I like them.

A couple of scarecrow makers relaxing after the creative work is done.

Corvids keep clear of Chadkirk

Sunday 20th May
Looking over the garden wall reveals a hive of activity.
Families and Friends of Chadkirk experiment with old clothing and handfuls of straw as they conjure up a flock of scarecrows. Inspiration came from the Jubilee celebrations and the Olympic Games. All participants received a small treat as a reward. The judges gave special commendation to Sammy Scarecrow (taking time off from Olympic training), Mr Chad’s cheerful smile and The Gardener.
Fine weather is forecast for the next few days and visitors to Chadkirk will be able to sit on the benches in the walled garden with no worries about any unwanted birdlife.

Worzel Gummidge?

The Head Gardener was particularly appreciated by the judges as they regularly weed and hoe the herb beds that he took care of for the day.

A royal visitor enjoys the garden.

Scarecrows visit Chadkirk

Calling all scarecrows…. Sunday 20th May 2012
It’s Open Day for Scarecrows at Chadkirk.

Young or old, male or female, old timers or new comers, dressed for work or play, sun or shine….all are welcome at the Chapel, Chadkirk.

Entry for Scarecrows is £2. They may be accompanied by upto 4 people.

Judging of the scarecrows will take place at 14.30 hours…..2.30pm.
A small prize will be awarded for the scarecrow that the judges like best.

Two types of scarecrow will be able to enter the competition.
A : scarecrows that are made at home and arrive at the Chapel, Chadkirk fully formed and dressed for competition.
B: scarecrows that are created at the Chapel between 11.00 hrs and 13.00 hours (1pm).

There will be some materials at the Chapel to help people wanting to make their scarecrows between 11am and 1pm. Bringing your own materials might allow you to be more creative and help you design the scarecrow of your dreams (or nightmares or something anywhere in between).

Scarecrows who visited Chadkirk in 2011 may be appearing here shortly. In the meantime, if you can’t wait, there are photos by Steph on Walney at

Good news: here’s one of the scarecrows from last year. A lady, or maybe a princess, dancing in the breeze. I wonder if you saw her at Chadkirk. If so, why not send in her story for followers to read ?

Gardening at Chadkirk

The first Saturday of the month is gardening time at Chadkirk.

May is a month of rapid growth, so there’s plenty to do. In the walled garden, it’s time to give attention to the herb beds. One volunteer digs up Jerusalem Artichoke tubers to make way for other plants to grow as the season progresses, another is planting salsify seeds. Some plants need staking, others are moved or thinned. Maybe there’s a little weeding before it’s time for a cuppa. Gardening here is a very sociable activity.

The herb beds are laid out to follow the pattern of monastic herb gardens. Plants are grouped together according to function: culinary, household, medicinal, dyes. Some of the plants growing in this area are well known and easy to recognise. There’s lavender and sage. But visitors are keen to ask the gardeners about plants that they are less familiar with. Those tall spires with yellow flowers in the bed of herbs for making dyes? Another visitor is curious to know the name of the bright yellow flowers in the far border. Is that Leopard’s Bane under the north facing wall?

Leopard’s Bane or Doronicum is an easy going plant and adds a bright sunny quality to borders even on the dullest of days. Tempted to grow it at home?
This link is a good starting point:

Outside the walled garden a small team tidy up the long border by the west wall. There’s weeding to be done. A project started in the winter is nearing completion, as a few more stones are used to edge the lawn and tamped into place.

The team get together again on Thursday 17th May and at the start of June.
Why not join them?

Chadkirk Festival 2012

For many people who attended last year’s festival, there was a disappointing rumour circulating: this might be the last one. At the festival, the sun shone, the atmosphere was relaxed and it was clear that those who came were having a good time. In the background the rumble of belt-tightening, cost cutting, financial stringency.

So here’s the good news: 2012 Chadkirk festival gets the green light.
It will be half the time (one day only) and twice as welcome, given the previous uncertainty about it’s future. Sunday 29th July 2012. Something to celebrate.

Planning is in the early stages, though with three months to go this is a good time to volunteer to help out on the day. Keeping the flow of refreshment going – cups of tea, scones with cream – and selling plants on the Friends’ stall is a great way to enjoy the festivities. And many hands really do make light work.