On 28 June Orleton and District Gardening Club enjoyed a coach trip to RHS Bridgewater. This had been postponed for two years due to Covid and members gained free group entry as the club is affiliated to the RHS.
Bridgewater is the latest RHS garden to be constructed and was opened only two years ago. It comprises 154 acres on the former site of Worsley New Hall by Salford’s Bridgewater Canal and contains a mix of modern and traditional planting with many areas in the course of development. The highlights include a Chinese streamside garden, community gardens, kitchen garden, Paradise garden and wellbeing garden.
The access to Bridgewater is bordered by drifts of wild flowers and grasses, setting the tone for the tranquil ambience which characterised the gardens. The club was welcomed and given a short introductory talk before being ushered inside the Welcome Building, an airy well designed structure housing café, gift shops and plant centre. After coffee members wandered at will.
The Weston walled garden is one of the largest walled gardens in the UK and houses the kitchen garden and the Paradise garden, the maturity of the planting a tribute to good design and ground preparation. The borders in the Paradise garden, including billowing campanulas, vivid spiky salvias and deep blue geraniums gently spilling over the sides of the paths, exhibited an exuberance which contrasted beautifully with the restrained formality of the central water feature.
Gently winding paths through flowering grasses lead to the Chinese Streamside Garden which is in the course of construction with helpful illustrations indicating its mature appearance. There were lots of ideas for gardeners to apply to their own plots, prettily marked small persicarias associating with acers and architectural candelabra primulas.
The paths continue to Ellesmere Lake and through woodland. There is a woodland play area and a future arboretum is planned.
Those of us who felt we had had enough exercise were happy to relax on the wide terrace outside the café and enjoy the mesmerising aerial display put on by swifts and swallows skimming the Moon Bridge Water. Our visit, though deferred, was well worth the wait to spend time in a garden both inspiring and therapeutic.