Category Archives: The Walled Garden

Back in the year 2000…

I lived and worked in Greater Manchester 20 years ago. During that time, the peace and spiritual essence in Chadkirk estate, together with the company of the garden team, really helped me through difficult times.

I worked hard with Pat and Mary and remember John for his enthusiasm, knowledge of the natural history, birds etc. and his wonderful estate work.

We were a small group: myself, Pat, Mary, Sheila and her husband Peter, and John plus another couple. Pat and I went on an apple tree / orchard course over two weekends and I remember the seeds she and Mary grew.

Awaiting funding for the restoration of the walled garden, we had numerous meetings at Pat’s home during which we studied maps and plans. Renovators of the chapel in previous years had discarded material into the walled garden seemingly using it as a junk heap. So then there were weeks of weeding out bricks, stones and glass from the garden beds which had been constructed by Stockport council, following Pat’s design. Eventually we started the planting. I remember the joy of watching plants growing, and the satisfaction working on maintenance in the garden we had helped to create.

I had five happy years working at Chadkirk and seeing the walled garden transformed for all to enjoy.

Thank you for a most informative and fun blog.

Warm regards
Janice.

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5th August 2017: Let’s garden…

After last weekend’s successful Well Dressing at Chadkirk, the team will be back again this coming Saturday. The first Saturday of every month is a Gardening Day in the gardens at Chadkirk. During the afternoon we meet by the Chapel and in The Walled Garden. Each person does a little bit of the work maintaining and improving the gardens. Sharing the activities means that we each do a little and we all gain a lot.

So if you enjoyed your visit last weekend, or if you visit Chadkirk regularly, you can add to your enjoyment by joining the folk who garden.

Gentle activity, beautiful location, sheltered garden, sharing the delights of being out in the open air, breathing in the scents of the garden. Birds. Bees. Woodland. And a cuppa and chat. Saturday 5th August 2-4pm Chadkirk.

A message from Cape Town…

Having returned to Cape Town in 2005 I have just discovered your blog and am so enjoying maintaining my connection with Chadkirk and learning of improvements.

Changing the chapel window is a project I am delighted to read about and the bridge is a wonderful idea. It was a long walk from Marple, where I previously lived. I was a Friend of Chadkirk and a member of the initial gardening team, restoring the herb and walled garden.

A question: When did the Friends start motivation for and the process of the walled garden restoration? Was it 2000 or later?

My regards to those who may remember me. Keep up the great work.
Janice.

Lovely to hear from you, Janice. And interesting to read your comments.
There are people from all over the world who visit the blog, and as you say it’s a great way to keep the connections going across the miles and down the years.

I have only been involved with the Friends of Chadkirk since 2012. While we haven’t had a chance to meet, some of the people who were in the team when you were an active member of the Friends of Chadkirk continue to spend time in the gardens at Chadkirk, helping the gardens to thrive.

Now that your message is on the blog, I hope they’ll be able to get in touch. I’m sure that they will want to send their greeting to a fellow Friend!

Pat leads the gardening team. Her enthusiasm and skills are an inspiration. She has been a driving force in the garden and knows the full story of how the transformation of the walled garden was initiated and completed.

I wonder if you have read the earlier post about the history of the garden? I have often thought about writing another post filling in some of the gaps. Perhaps your message will inspire me to do that.
Thank you, Janice!

The Walled Garden… in the beginning

The start of Spring…

March 1st is officially the start of spring.
This weekend is the first spring weekend of 2016.
The first Saturday of the month: March 5th.
It’s time for the good folk on our gardening team to be in the gardens by the chapel. They’ll be doing what needs to be done.Tidying up after the winter and getting ready for new growth.

You can join us for a few minutes or a few hours.
Open air, the gentle beauty of the Walled Garden, available to all.
A shared joke, a shared activity and a deep sense of satisfaction.

Meet by Chadkirk Chapel at 2pm.
A cuppa and a little something delicious to eat at the break.
Tidy up and tools away by 4pm.
Over the year, you’ll see the garden change through the season, starting with the green shoots in spring.

Volunteer weeding one of the beds in the Walled Garden.

Volunteer weeding one of the beds in the Walled Garden.

Gardening time

The first Saturday in any month is gardening time down by the chapel at Chadkirk. Whatever the weather, there’s pruning and weeding, or planting to be done.

On Saturday 6th February it rained all day. Drenching and dyke filling rain.
And, yes, the gardeners turned up and got stuck in. It can still be fun, working outdoors, even in the pouring rain. And there’s always a sense of achievement. Gentle activity, good company and a part played in creating a beautiful garden which gives pleasure to so many. Well worth it.

‘Not surprisingly just a handful of us were daft enough to brave the wet weather. February Fill-Dyke (an old country saying) certainly lived up to its name. Two of us got busy transferring primulas from their hidden place behind the benches to the bed by the oak tree, where they can be seen and enjoyed by all. Meanwhile, another gardener donned his waders to clean out 2 of the ponds to keep the Great Crested Newts happy.’

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February 2106 Gardening Team at work

September’s here again…

Yesterday the team of gardening volunteers were at Chadkirk. A delightful few hours, in fine company, beautiful surroundings, fresh air and gentle sunshine.

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Pulling out brambles, weeding and pruning, gentle activity and time for a chat and a cuppa (and Pat’s home made biscuits). The first Saturday of every month is always a gardening afternoon at Chadkirk. The time spent is well rewarded, for this time and the gardening morning on the third Thursday of the month, are the times when the volunteers do plenty of good work so that the gardens at Chadkirk flourish.

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If you like pottering in the garden and would enjoy time in the gardens at Chadkirk, why not join us? Spend as much time as suits you, minutes or hours, on both or either of the gardening days each month. Our team is a mixed bunch. Some know more about gardening than others. Together we can usually decide if the plant is a weed or not. Just ask. It’s a team effort!

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This September one of the most beautiful features in the Walled Garden is the bed of annuals. It’s stunning. In Saturday’s sunshine, the glorious flowers attracted some of our honey bees from the nearby hives.

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In the gardens and meadows, woodlands and ponds, there is a rich variety of flora and fauna. The plants provide food for insects and the insects provide food for the birds and the bats. And if it’s birds and bats that you are interested in you may want to build your own bird or bat box. Or maybe both. If so, join us next weekend for our annual bird and bat box making afternoon.

Bird and Bat Box making with expert guidance from John Rowlands
Saturday 12th September 2015
1-30 – 4pm.

There is a small charge for materials.
Please bring your own hammer.
We’ll be outside the chapel when the weather’s fine.

Chadkirk in July

There’s plenty happening at Chadkirk this month.
The month starts with our Friends of Chadkirk meeting in Chadkirk Chapel; a relaxed meeting to discuss, among other things, the 2015 Chadkirk Festival. This is our 19th Festival here at Chadkirk, and we know from the visitors who come that, for many, it has turned into one of their favourite summer days out and become something of a tradition. The last Sunday in July? Oh yes! That’s the Chadkirk Festival.

During our meeting there was a chance just to refresh our plans. The Festival will be a blend of all those traditions that regular visitors enjoy so much, together with a few new features that will add a touch of novelty and some small surprises. More of which later…

Before then, there’s time to spend in the gardens. Here volunteers in our gardening team will be doing some weeding, and making the odd nip and tuck, to make sure the garden is at it’s glorious best for the Festival. Today it is radiant and full of blossom in the summer sunshine. From the paths, approaching the garden, the scents of summer fill the air. In the Walled Garden, there are some fine specimen roses, with a stunning cascade of Rambling Rector transforming one of the apple trees.

This week’s combination of warmth and wet has provided ideal growing conditions. It may have brought out blossom; it has also nourished weeds. Whereas once, the weeding and maintenance of these gardens was shared between local authority workers and unpaid volunteers, now Stockport MBC pays to mow the lawn. Virtually everything else is being done by local people.

The gardening team includes people with a life time of gardening experience and folk who just enjoy being in the garden doing a little gentle activity with a friendly bunch. The expertise of the the gardening team leader provides inspiration and focus for the rest of the team. This means there’s a great opportunity for people to come along, be in the fresh air, do a little stretching and moving and feel that they are making a difference, enabling others to enjoy this special place.

The Friends of Chadkirk gardening team will be in the garden on Saturday 4th July, whatever the weather. Please join us. We are there between 2-4 approximately. Chadkirk Chapel will be open, serving ice cream, tea and coffee. During our break, the gardeners chat and share refreshments. Always a cuppa for each member of the team. Often some home baked cake, biscuits or flapjack brought along by one of the friends as a thank you and a treat.One of the many rewards of being part of the Friends of Chadkirk.

Tea break at the June Gardening Saturday