Cumbria’s Living Heritage – a cluster group of 34 engaging heritage attractions, great houses and museums – is offering an exquisite opportunity for anyone with green fingers and a love of gardens.
The group has devised a quirky ‘Culture Mulchers’ contest that will allow four different garden enthusiasts to not only get outdoors with spade, trowel and secateurs, but also dig deeper into heritage and history.
Four unique opportunities to access all (or at least most) areas of gardens you would normally only visit as a day-tripper or tourist are up for grabs by those who can convey a passion for both making gardens come to life and Britain’s fabulous heritage.
Each winning Culture Mulcher will be assigned to one of four heritage gardens, where they will work with the attraction’s resident gardener, or volunteer, and truly live and breathe the essence of Cumbria’s Living Heritage, by bringing the past to life through the present.
All four gardens – at Holker Hall (Cark-in-Cartmel), Holehird Gardens (overlooking Windermere), Askham Hall (near Penrith) and Brockhole, the Lake District Visitor Centre (on the shores of Windermere), will offer something different, so the entrant should decide which most appeals to them and go all out to create a blooming great entry.
At Holker, the winning Culture Mulcher will work with gardener Glyn Sherratt, who has been the resident gardener for 18 months. The grand garden under his control is full of colour and interest around every corner and whilst impressive in its grandeur, maintains a family feel. It also contains talking points in the form of the 400-year-old Holker Great Lime, a National Collection of Styracaceae and a labyrinth inspired by a Hindu temple.
Holehird Gardens is Britain’s only wholly volunteer-run garden, maintained by around 70 passionate individuals with a variety of knowledge and expertise. Everyone makes a contribution and any volunteer would be delighted to take the winning Culture Mulcher under their wing. The winner will work within a particular area, such as the rock garden, herbaceous borders in the Walled Garden, maples and azaleas in the Woodland Walk or Alpines and will be able to tour the extensively labelled beds with guidance from Holehird’s Garden Co-ordinator, Graeme Johnson. They should also get time to see the four National Plant Collections at this 17-acre garden, as well as the spectacular Handkerchief tree.
At Askham Hall, the head gardener awaiting his winning Culture Mulcher is Colin Myers, who has made Askham’s gorgeous terraces and herbaceous borders his labour of love for the past 10 years. The gardens are Grade II-listed and date back to the late 17th century, but much of today’s planting and design is the inspiration of owner Caroline, Countess of Lonsdale. Here, the winning Culture Mulcher will be engaged in foraging activities, choosing fresh herbs, edible flowers, berries, vegetables, salad and micro-shoots, with the assistance of head chef, Richard Swale, from the gardens and polytunnel. They should also be able to appreciate why Askham’s emblem is an allium.
And finally, at Brockhole, the triumphant Culture Mulcher will work with gardeners Iain Turnbull and Sue Preston-Jones, who have 2 and 15 years’ experience at Brockhole respectively, in what is a plant lover’s paradise. They will be able to weed, prune and perhaps plant, in the micro-climate that this lovely Thomas Mawson-designed garden enjoys, as well as taking in views of Windermere and the Langdale Valley. As long as they stay away from the temptations of zip-wire and kayaks, they should have a fabulous day!
All experiences will be scheduled for September 2017, with some flexibility to suit the winning individual’s exact choice of dates.
HOW TO ENTER
To throw your gardening hat into the ring, for one of these unique gardening experiences that money can’t buy, state in less than 70 words which experience you would like to win, and why, add your name and address, telephone contact number and email address, as well as any medical information that each attraction will need to be aware of, and send your entry to Cumbria’s Living Heritage, c/o Hutton-in-the-Forest, Penrith, CA11 9TH, by the closing date of August 20. Alternatively, email the information to firstname.lastname@example.org
Four Culture Mulchers will then be chosen and contacted by Cumbria’s Living Heritage. If, for any reason, the winner cannot take up the experience, it will be offered to the next best entry. Winners will need to make their own arrangements regarding travel and accommodation, if they require this.
More information about each attraction can be found by visiting www.cumbriaslivingheritage.co.uk where you can also download a quirky Heritage Past-Port, with great elevator pitches about each member.Enjoy more Kitchen Garden reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.