The River Aire weaves its way through Gargrave and through the fabric of villagers’ lives. We have featured gardens on River Place and Riverside: today, a garden on Riversway, courtesy of Cynthia and Peter. Read on to discover the story of the transformation of their garden…
When we moved here the garden was largely lawn with trees and huge laurel bushes on a slope leading down almost to river level. It occasionally floods down there so is left semi-natural. Ground Elder covered large areas amongst the trees and the lower garden. As I dug the garden I found huge stones. These were used in a dry stone wall, a haven for wildlife I hope. The willow chair was supposed to have legs rooted into the ground. Our wild area is especially beautiful when the Cow Parsley and Dusky Cranesbill are in flower.
During the last five years we have constructed a fruit cage, a rose arch, a polytunnel and a shed and cut away a lot of lawn. Last year I made a bark chipping path as there was too much wear and tear on the grass. On the left of it is the Spring Garden and Forget-me-nots and tulips grow on the right. This is happily in flower before the copper beech tree above is in full leaf. I enjoyed making a brick path with the numerous bricks unearthed in the garden. The log-pile fence used an amazing number of logs which are held upright with metal stakes wired together at intervals. Hopefully this is also used by wildlife.
The polytunnel is great fun where I grow tomatoes, courgettes, cucumbers and chrysanthemums. I also start off early crops of radishes, rocket, spinach and lettuce and flower seedlings. This year I am growing Calabash intended for the Gargrave Show’s competition for ‘An unusual fruit or vegetable not usually grown in the Gargrave area’. Sadly, the Show has been cancelled this year.
We were given a Wormery. The redworms consume household vegetable scraps and produce a rich liquor used for plant food. Near the river is an old Elder tree much loved by long-tailed tits. Much of the bark is gone and Jelly Ear fungus is growing. Our biggest shed has a green roof of saxifrages and sedums, being enjoyed here by Gromit.
I love growing plants and every year order unusual seeds from the RHS, which grow with varying success. This year I am eagerly awaiting flowers on a Mexican Glory vine and Indigo plants to develop.
During lockdown I have spent a lot of my time in the garden, both working and relaxing, for which I feel very fortunate.