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A great day at Sion Hill Hall on Sunday 16 June

Thrilled to say that we beat the weather (well almost) on Sunday 16 June.  Having had one of the wettest weeks on record for June, and with Plan B with the car parking and site of the plant fair, we welcomed lots of regulars and new visitors to the Flower Power Fair at Sion Hill Hall on Sunday 16 June. Early morning sunshine brought smiles to us all as the plant nurseries and garden accessories arrived to set up their stalls and we had some very “early birds” arriving to get the best plants! However, the rain caught us all out around midday with a heavy shower and everyone dashed for cover … and some delicious cakes in the tea room … even the peacocks hid.   But once the rain disappeared, we had a lovely warm afternoon and everyone left laden down with bio-degradable bags full of wonderful plants. A huge thank you to Michael Mallaby of Sion Hill Hall and his staff for all their hard work and of course to the wonderful plantsmen and women who make these fairs possible, and so enjoyable.  Gatekeeper Nurseries, Ribblesdale Nurseries, Garden Blooms, Plantazia, Dark Star Plants, Fayrefield Horticulture & Design, The Quiet Corner, Plantazia, Gardening with Wildlife and Alfresco. A glorious garden to wander through too and of course the peacocks were on their best behaviour, displaying for most of the day, almost to order! The next Flower Power Fair will be in Wensleydale when we visit CONSTABLE BURTON HALL on Sunday 7 July.  Admission is £5.00, children go free but please leave your canine friends at home for this event. Constable Burton Hall, Leyburn, DL8 5LJ.  We open at 11am.  

WYNYARD HALL – Sunday 21 July 2019

We held our first plant fair here in 2017 and it was very popular with visitors and gardeners alike.  And last year we were blessed with wonderful weather, so much so that I think we all “baked” in the heat! I’m hoping that the weather will be kind to us again in 2019 as this really is a world class garden.  Sir John Hall has lavished over £2million bringing these two large Walled Gardens back to life.  Our fair, held within the restored Rose Garden, and overlooking the water features and the impressive Café/Visitor Centre,  spills all along the gravelled pathways right up to the Eating Garden beyond and features quality plant growers and nurseries from the North. You can also buy your tickets on line so giving you “instant” access into the plant fair rather than queuing at the reception area.   We are also delighted to find out that there will be a Farmers’ Market taking place just outside the Walled Garden so you will need to bring lots of cash with you for both events …. and please do bring your own bags and save on plastic waste. Fantastic selection of top quality plant specialists and growers attending this year which include Through The Garden Gate, Red Dial Nurseries, Ribblesdale Nurseries, Gatekeeper Nursery, Lawn Hero, Dark Star Plants, Roanne Nurseries, Northern Ark Nursery, The Quiet Corner, Summerfield Plants and Brambling House Alpines and Salvias. We also have a great gift and garden accessory line up too which includes Gardening with Wildlife, Cornerstone Furniture, Durham Wildlife, Folkvagr stained glass and gifts and Alfresco Design. Come early to get the best selections and choices!  AND CASH!  Not all the stands offer card facilities.   Admission £5.50 (concessions) and advanced tickets on sale NOW at www.wynyardhall.co.uk. No dogs allowed in the gardens but there are acres of ...

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One of my plant specialists, The Quiet Corner, sent me a disturbing article about the use of Neonics in the horticultural industry. I have never heard of the word. I imagine many of you haven’t either but I personally find it worrying that these pesticides are used on our plants on a daily basis. This article appeared in the The Organic Way in the Spring/Summer issue 2017 and was written by Judith Conroy. I quote from this article: “I am often asked, “what plants can I grow that are good for bees?” There usually follows a lovely conversation about the fascinating relationships between different insects and their favourite blooms. My questioner will often end with “great, I’ll go and find some of those down at the garden centre.” My heart sinks, as having enthused them, I have to explain why this might not be a good idea …. The fact is that many of the plants for sale in garden centres, supermarkets, farm shops and plant nurseries are treated with a whole range of different chemicals to kill insects, molluscs, fungi and weeds (basically termed pesticides) – but there is no requirement to let the unsuspecting customer know this. For those of us buying plants with bees and other pollinating insects in mind, NEONICOTINOID insecticides (commonly known as Neonics) give particular cause for concern; though their use in agriculture receives prominent media coverage, their continued use in horticulture is seldom discussed. Neonics are used as a drench, meaning that the chemical is taken up by the plant and so is present in all its tissues, including, crucially, the pollen and nectar. Neonics act as neurotoxins, killing insect pests, such as vine weevils and aphids when they eat the plant, but are also proven to be highly toxic to non-target species such as bees who visit them ...

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