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Holker Hall and Garden Festival

June 10, 2010

One of my favourite events in the Lakeland calendar is Holker Garden Festival.


I don’t know whether it is because it is one of the first Festivals of the summer, or whether it is because the sun usually shines, but it really is a great event.

General view Holker Garden Festival.

The grounds of Holker Hall, the home of Lord and Lady Cavendish, provide the festival with a lovely setting. Holker is a Norse word meaning “a rising in marshy land”. The estate has never been sold and has passed through the family since the 16th Century.

Holker Hall Cark-in-Cartmel

While the topiary above was of the traditional type, there was  a bit of unusual topiary doing the rounds.

Live Topiary

While most folk were taking it all in good part, these dogs were completely freaked out and made a hell of a noise!

Confused dogs

This was the 18th Garden Festival, it should have really been the 19th but was cancelled due to the Foot and Mouth outbreak. Last year they had over 23,000 visitors.


While the obvious focus is on the “garden” aspect there is much more than floral displays to enjoy.

Making a dry stone wall.

I always enjoy watching the traditional crafts. Did you know that the North West was once a great centre of swill making?. Now there is only one man left making swill baskets and he lives by Coniston Lake.

The last swill maker.

Unfortunately although I went back several times, I couldn’t catch him in action.

Traditional crafts, Woodturning.

One of the best entries and also definitely the best place to buy plants and garden furniture is the HMP Haverigg garden, they had asked the local children to help design it round a world cup theme.

HMP Haverigg World Cup Garden

They chose colours matching the South African flag. In the corner of their garden they also have a bird of prey section.

Watching me, watching you.

Made in Cumbria have a great presence at the Festival and I was glad to see “Made by Masi” a Cumbrian company who make Gujarati Vegetarian food. I had a delicious Thali for lunch from them, my favourite thing, and ate it watching The Knights of the Damned.

Knights of the Damned.

There were several forms of entertainment in the main arena, The Knights of the Damned were a very clever jousting act.

Farewell topiary friends.

One last backward look at our topiary pals and their gardener friend and we headed for home, loaded down with plants as usual.

Flower display Holker Garden Festival.

From → Holker, Lake District

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