… and a lot of hard work
by Judi Barton
The Group was fortunate to visit the garden of Helen and Michael Myers on a bright sunny but bracing April day. Fairview’s garden has been developed over 45 years and it is an amazing collection of spring beauties.
Michael told us that he moved into the house with his parents when he was 11 and that was the start of a garden journey, probably quite unlike any other.
He works in horticultural education at Craven College and Ripon Walled Garden now, and over the years some of the West Yorks HPS members have benefitted from his tutoring through the RHS exams and through Plant Heritage courses too. He lectures gardening enthusiasts and our group has enjoyed 3 or 4 different talks from him – his presence always means a crowded meeting room!
Michael very clearly and generously disperses knowledge to anyone who asks him a question – I am sure he was glad to see the back of us all on Saturday, so he could rest his voice!
Helen and Michael have travelled extensively through Europe on botanising treks and there are a number of interesting and unique plants in their garden that have come home with them. They are very successful at, and have a passion for, sowing from seed. Their passion encompasses many genera – galanthus, corydalis, cardamine, hellebores, hepaticas, pleione, spring bulbs of many types – and examples are all grown to thrill at Fairview.
The garden is on a challenging site – a steep hillside snuggled on its longest boundary by huge old trees. This next door tree- and rock-scape is quite ‘Lord of the Rings’, very shady and clothed in moss. An additional ‘field’ was taken on some years ago, and in that lowest area a lovely wildlife pond and a formal sunny area have been developed. There are terraces up to the house, all developed with different styles and plantings. Each has a seating area, creating a friendly feeling across the garden.
As you walk back up towards the house, the terraces make their own personalities known.
At the top of the plot are the greenhouses and polytunnels, sand plunge beds, troughs and pots galore.
Not content with the garden proper, Michael and Helen have also beautified the roadside verges, which were looking marvellous with an absolute carpet of hellebores in one section while further along bulbs were the stars of the show.
A big thank you to the Myers for having our group visit Fairview. It was such a lovely morning and the garden was buzzing with enthusiastic gardeners and bees.
I thoroughly recommend checking out Michael’s posts on social media: on Instagram it’s ‘snowdropman’; on Facebook it’s ‘Michael Myers’. It’s well worth following him to boost your own knowledge from his seasonal posts.