Monthly Archives: June 2012

On the agenda…

It was an inauspicious beginning.
I was running late. By the time I’d parked up and walked down the lane to the chapel, the meeting had started. Lifting the latch, the chapel door swung open and I peered inside. Empty chairs clustered round tables at one end of the chapel. At the other end, around the altar, a chatter of folk.

With shards of glass propped against a window, the group discuss the quality of the glass, the colours and texture. A local craftsman shows something of what is possible and the group begins to explore how his skills might contribute to the completion of a project.

This exchange of views gives a clue to the ambition of the Friends of Chadkirk. The project under discussion: the replacement of the east window. Is the present window anachronistic and inappropriate? Many visitors might say so. With this in mind, the plan is to replace it with a stained glass window which will enhance the chapel.

The project is in the early stages. Discussions of design and funding to be considered in future meetings.

When the chat by the alter ended, the group moved to consider the other items on the agenda. Somehow the group rattled through a range of issues. Somehow the meeting combined a relaxed style while covering the agenda with admirable efficiency. Somehow I found myself walking back to the car smiling in the moonlight, inhaling the damp spring air. If only all meetings could be like this!

Bombus lapidarius ?

Which flowers in the walled garden are attractive to bees?
Certainly not the rose in the last post. Though we find their scent attractive, the bees will fly on by. It was the chives, welsh onions and hardy geraniums that drew the bees. They had what the bees needed: nectar and pollen.

The bees in an earlier post – after the rain – might be bombus terrestris, the garden bumble bee. But bee identification can be tricky.

Feeding on an allium flower was a large bee with an orange tail. I wonder if this is Bombus lapidarius? It’s size suggests that it was a Queen Bee. Although a better photo would help, the BBCT website gives clear guidelines and it suggests that this is most likely a Red-tailed Bumble Bee Queen.

The only other lookalike candidate is bombus rupestris, the Red-tailed cuckoo bumblebee. The female has an all-black head, thorax and abdomen with an orange-red tail.

Perhaps you have more experience of Bee id? Can you tell if this is Bombus rupestris?

Common bumblebees | Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Whereas Bombus lapidarius is found throughout the British Isles, it would be a sign that bombus rupestris was extending it’s range northwards if the bee in Chadkirk was identified as Bombus rupestris, the red-tailed cuckoo bumble bee.

Rose in bloom

On the west facing wall of the garden, a particularly beautiful rose grows.
I have enjoyed watching the buds unfurl.The flower emerging is lovely to look at, the scent heavenly. Though the display may have been affected by the recent rains, hold a flower stem close to your face and inhale : there’s a sense of summer.

I am curious to know the name of the rose.
Perhaps you grow it or know it?
If you don’t and have a space on a west facing wall, this may be the rose for you.

After the rain

It’s been a drenching time. Days of cloud, wind and rain.

Few gardens can take this battering without some premature losses.
Vibrant flowers such as poppies and peonies looked sumptuous a week ago.
Now their blooms are reduced to dark limp petals littering the ground.

This Sunday morning there’s a break in the clouds, a smear of blue sky and warm sunshine: a delight after the recent weather and all that talk of June Monsoons.

While there’s a welcome breather between passing depressions it brings a chance for visitors to enjoy the garden. More than that, it is a critical opportunity for bees and butterflies to feed.

Healthy plants at bargain prices

I first became aware of the Friends of Chadkirk in June 2011.
A keen gardener, I was drawn to the plant sale that took place on the lawn outside the walled garden.Within minutes I had a couple of carrier bags bursting with healthy plants. I selected several strong specimens of Verbena bonariensis that were a fraction of the prices elsewhere. Ornamental grasses are a favourite and I was spoilt for choice. As I chatted about the plants with the stall holders, I realised that they were all Friends. Friends of Chadkirk. There were people here who knew a lot about plants and they’d germinated and propagated many of those on the stall. Enjoying the banter, and talking some more, it became clear that they did more than just grow plants, or raise funds.

Like many people who live in the area, I’d visited the Chadkirk estate often over the years. Yet somehow I hadn’t picked up on the signs that this group existed.
I suppose I was enjoying the wildlife and the garden; I mustn’t have lingered to read the notice boards.

True, I’d noticed that the garden had once appeared to be rather neglected and now it was flourishing. Perhaps 10 years ago when I visited the chapel, I’d appreciated the strong sense of history, while sensing a whiff of neglect that seemed rather sad. Now there are works of art and regular activities in the Chapel; it has come alive again. Noticing these improvements, if I wondered how it had happened, I must have assumed that the council had got to work and could take the credit.

Certainly Stockport MBC have been involved and the warden of the estate and other staff do stirling work. However, much of what has been achieved has only been possible because of a group of people with good ideas and a passion to see this space flourish.

Now that I knew about the group, I joined on the spot. Handing over my £5 note, I too became a Friend of Chadkirk. Money well spent and another bargain to be enjoyed.

Saturday 16th June is your opportunity to get some healthy plants at bargain prices.2.30-4.00pm on the lawn besides the Walled Garden.
It is also an opportunity to meet Friends and get involved.
Now is a good time to volunteer to take part in the Chadkirk Festival.
The Festival will take place on the last Sunday in July between 12 and 4 pm.

A place for blessings

This afternoon the BBC weather forecast for Romiley was spot on. 14 Celcius and a fine drenching drizzle. A lot better than the weather forecast for tomorrow. Nevertheless, disappointing for the couple, friends and family, gathering at Chadkirk this afternoon and evening. They will receive a blessing in the historic and intimate chapel, followed by celebrations on the lawn beside the walled garden. The marquee is festooned with the flags, bunting of Union Jacks and the French Tricolor. Inside there will be warmth, good cheer and celebration, shelter and comfort regardless of the weather.

Before the blessing, Friends of Chadkirk gather too. There’s weeding to be done. Nicotiana seedlings are transplanted. Pots of red, white and blue petunias are planted.
Much of the work is done by volunteers. But by no means all of it….

Volunteers and staff will meet for a social get together on 14th June.

On Saturday 16th June it’s the plant sale. This is an opportunity to buy healthy plants at reasonable prices. Money raised contributes to the up keep of the garden. Those who visit the gardens benefit and those who buy the plants go home with bargains. Win-win.

The plant sale begins at 2.30 on the lawn to the west of the walled garden.