Lakes inspired garden gets gold

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Wild about Britain website (UK)

As rock star turned horticultural guru Kim Wilde put Cumbria's gardens in the national spotlight - clinching a gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show - dramatic National Park grounds are poised to reap some glory.

Acclaimed Lake District Visitor Centre Brockhole is hoping Kim's words will ring true and her creation for Chelsea, The Cumbrian Fellside Garden, will "inspire more people to discover and enjoy some of the county's stunning gardens".

Brockhole's renowned Windermere gardens were set out by the famed Edwardian landscape designer Thomas H Mawson. He uniquely worked with architect Don Gibbons to bring spectacular house and grounds together in a horticultural extravaganza.

"Our gardens are always a popular attraction, but with Kim Wilde highlighting the wealth of fantastic horticultural opportunities in the area, we hope even more people are going to come along and share our treasures," said Lake District National Park Authority field manager south David Bulman.

Although the five-acre formal gardens and 25-acre grounds stretching down to the shores of Windermere are open all year-round, a special open garden event will be held on 15 June, where residents and visitors will be treated to a day of horticultural happenings.

Brockhole gardeners will be on hand to answer questions and share the fruits of their labours. Strolls around the grounds are being organised. Throughout the summer, garden walks for children are also being staged.

In the aftermath of January's worst storms in living memory, nature's wrath has been turned into a learning experience at Brockhole and will be explored during the June open day. Many trunks and branches remain where they fell, making a diverse and rich habitat for insects, birds and small mammals.

Sets of interpretation panels, explaining how the storm damage was dealt with, will be on display, along with old photographs and descriptions of Mawson's spectacular garden vision.

Woodland Ways, from North West Coppicing Association, will be demonstrating the ancient art of willow weaving, and visitors can also treat themselves to some homegrown Brockhole plants. Wholesome gardener's lunches will be served in the restaurant.

More information about Cumbrian gardens can be found on: www.golakes.co.uk/gardens