Sunday, 11 October 2009

October at Acorn Bank

The garden visiting season may be slowly drawing to a close for this year, but there is still time to catch a real gem in the north east of the county....

Acorn Bank, a National Trust property near Penrith is a beauty! There, a series of small enclosed gardens contain within their walls a multitude of rare and interesting plants. One area houses an unique and most extensive gathering of poisonous, healing and culinary herbs. There are over two hundred and fifty species and varieties in all, including a semi-tender collection in a lovely old lean-to greenhouse.

Elsewhere late flowering clematis line the walls, and the last generous flowers of the season, especially the Sedum spectabile, provide welcome nectar to dancing clouds of butterflies.

Ancient local apple varieties including the charmingly named ‘Lemon Square’ and ‘Lady’s Finger of Lancaster,’ and a huge perry pear dominate the old orchard. Unusual medlars adding extra interest with their strange fruit and the first glowing hints of orange autumn colour.

Perhaps best of all though are the enchanting natural woodland walks which lead down wild flower banking to the Crowdundle Beck, and finally on to a fascinating and functioning old watermill.

As always, wonderful homemade offerings from the tea room complete a visit to what must be one of the most satisfying and naturally idyllic gardens in Cumbria.

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