Water features enhance a garden

PUBLISHED: 17:55 04 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:19 20 February 2013

Water features enhance a garden

Water features enhance a garden

There is no doubt that water adds tranquillity to any garden, large or small, and with this in mind this month we visit Paddock Farm Nursery and Water Gardens in County Durham<br/>Words and pictures by Linda Viney

Although Paddock Farm at Dalton on Tees, near Darlington, was already an established nursery with display gardens it wasnt until April last year that Mark and Janet Binney bought it.

They were no strangers to world of horticulture as they already had M and J Horticulture within walking distance of the site.

It was too good an opportunity to miss when Paddock Farm came up for sale, Janet told me. We already grew plants for the wholesale market, including local councils like Darlington Council for their displays at the Royal Horticultural Societies (RHS) Shows at Tatton and Hampton Court, and those taking place further afield like Telford and Bromley.

Janet loves flowers which stems from her 12 years as a florist. Horticulture is definitely in the familys blood as their son Peter who is now also in the business was suspended in a baby bouncer in the polytunnels as they worked.

It is very much a family run enterprise as customers are treated with respect and expert help and advice is always on hand.

I treat customers as I would want to be treated myself, she explained. We want to be a part of the community and are only too willing to help when we can.

There are nine water gardens on the 12 acre site and to view them all that is asked for is a donation to a charity. It is a lovely place to wander or just sit, reflect and glean ideas to take home.

Apparently the Oriental Garden was the inspiration for the others. Featuring a large Koi pond, a Japanese-style bridge leads up to the Tea House which pays homage to a image of Buddah, which was made out of a single piece of granite. Visitors are permitted to rub his belly for good luck as serenity bells ring for peace. In typical oriental style acers have been planted here.

In contrast, the Woodmans Lodge, inspired by logs and offcuts, is secluded, with lush green planting with fungi and seasonal woodland strawberries adding a delightful touch. The water features here bubble out of stone features and monolith.

In contrast the Mediterranean Courtyard captures the sun through a trellis fence, and the fountain forms the centre-piece to a formal square raised pond and catches the light. Planted terracotta pots sprout colourful geraniums in summer.

Theres a 75 foot stream running through one area. Flanked by stones and planting from conifers and grasses Janet explained that an interwoven membrane under the gravel prevents problems with weeds. A duck pond can be viewed by a gateway adjacent to a war time air raid shelter, which is the last of nine shelters on this site, a former war time base.

Its a little piece of history, Janet said.
Walking through the Laburnum Tunnel there are views of the Reclamation Garden, which is a millennium folly built by Bernard Savage. Inspired by Eggleston Church in County Durham, stone is built round reclamation arches and windows. Herbaceous planting finishes the area and an iron obelisk stands amongst the planting.

Modern or traditional, you can enjoy the peace, transport yourself from the everyday stresses and strains of life and enjoy the water tumbling,
trickling or standing in the eclectic mix of styles.

The nursery has been revamped and there are new plantings, many grown in their own nursery with love from seed and cuttings, as well as selected specialities brought in.

Customers have become friends, and one lady who asked for her pond to be filled in when her husband died as it was his passion, needed a home for the Koi.

Tears filled her eyes when we told her they were going to a school that had won a competition for a pond, as her husband had been a teacher,"

Janet told me. We are a family and care about people and are here to help.

Still within the family, Janets sister Suzie Henderson, runs the tea room with home made fare which people travel quite a distance for. I naturally just had to have a freshly made scone - delicious - and I always take away one or two plants. Now to find a space for them.

Paddock Farm Nursery and Water gardens. Telephone 0844 209 6823, open 9am to 5.30 pm Monday to Saturday, and
10 am to 4 pm Sunday. For the website please go to northeast.greatbritishlife.co.uk/community/links

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