Our first stop was at the Lanercost Tea Rooms, next door to Lanercost Priory. I would have liked a wander around the Priory, but the freshly-baked scones were just far too tempting!
Suitably fortified, we then made our way to East of Eden Nursery, which is a small nursery in the village of Ainstable near Carlisle. This nursery isn’t usually open to the public, so we were really fortunate to be able to visit it. The owner had a really impressive array of geums in particular – most of which, I am told, should grow in the heavy clay that masquerades as my back garden. So that little bit of advice ending up costing me over £30!
Next stop was Dalemain, which calls itself a ‘mansion and historic gardens’, which strictly speaking is true, but it really felt more like a family home. We were welcomed by Jane Hasell-McCosh herself – she had even made an early return from her trip to London just to come and talk to us. She really couldn’t have made us feel more welcome.
The gardens at Dalemain are, unfortunately, not spring gardens. There were a few daffodils, but mostly lots of things just starting to appear out of the ground and promising a much more spectacular show for later in the year. Jane Hasell-McCosh was particularly proud of their dazzling display of Himalayan Blue Poppies (Meconopsis dalemain), which should appear in late May and early June.
This was the first of many events for Palnt Heritage North East this year. Next stop is a visit to Perennial Favourites in Blyth, followed swiftly by the Malvern Flower Show – yet more shopping opportunities