With the generosity of garden owners, the hundreds of volunteers, and the willing participation of those who visit the gardens, the National Garden Scheme (NGS) are able to donate record amounts to nursing and caring charities throughout England and Wales.
Best Beloved and I travelled to the banks of the River Cocker for the final of six gardens on their NGS open day in Cockermouth.
Rubby Banks Cottage didn’t allow vehicle access, so we parked and walked along the narrow, paved track that topped the steep west bank of the river.
At the end of the lane a left turn takes you through an iron gate and down toward the river.
We recognized the effects of flood on this garden, having experienced the same ourselves. It takes time to recover from the loss of soil and the silting of paths. Rubby Bank Cottage is well on its way to recovery.
This half of the garden sits on the site of an old water mill. The owners say it was torn down in the mid-1970’s. Evidence of the site’s industrial use is most evident in the remains of the rubble-filled mill race canal.
Back at the entrance to the garden, you’ll note the only standing portion of the former mill building. Vine-covered, it now functions as an outbuilding.
Through the gate and, again, to the left lies a more formal garden.
Rubby Bank Cottage’s garden rooms are separated by a series of arches. The owners must spend a lot of time tending to their pruning. Their hard work gives lovely bones to the garden.
Interestingly, two of their metal arches are not clad in vines, but are used as forms for espaliered apple trees.
The area between them is edged with mixed herbaceous borders.
The end of the path led to a small wildflower meadow, currently home to what I think are some common spotted orchids.
The threatening sky finally started to produce some drizzle, so we finished admiring the fruitfulness of the gardeners’ labours at Rubby Bank Cottage.
We are thankful to the NGS, to it’s volunteers, and to the owners of the six lovely Cockermouth Gardens. Many happy and successful returns.