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House sign
Hollow eggs in spalted beech. Freestanding, with a small base flattened out on the bottom of the eggs. Both sold - guide price £25 - £30.

House sign

10 June 2018

An oak house sign, 9 inches diameter, made for my sister's cottage. Designed for hanging outdoors, the writing and the robin are carved into the wood and painted. The whole sign has then been given three coats of Osmo oil finish.

More on this house sign.

General Knowledge trophy
Science trophy for the department of cell and molecular biology at St Jude's Children's Hospital, Memphis Tennessee.

Yarn bowls

10 June 2018

Three different designs for yarn bowls - for holding a ball of wool and knitting needles. One is in ash, the other two in spalted beech.

More on yarn bowls.

Hollow wooden eggs
Hollow eggs in spalted beech. Freestanding, with a small base flattened out on the bottom of the eggs. Both sold - guide price £25 - £30.

Egg boxes

28 May 2018

Two more hollow eggs, about 5 inches tall and 3 inches wide, both in spalted beech. One has a set of 8 pairs of rare earth magnets inset into the rims, which give a tight closure to the box. The other is a standard friction fit.

More on boxes and eggs.

General Knowledge trophy
Science trophy for the department of cell and molecular biology at St Jude's Children's Hospital, Memphis Tennessee.

General knowledge

17 May 2018

Another book on a lectern trophy, this time for Jason at Broomfield House in Kew. It is to be awarded to the winner of the general knowledge competition, with engraving plaques to be added to the plinth.

The trophy is about 7 inches in diameter, and about 10 inches tall.

More on school trophies.

science trophy
Science trophy for the department of cell and molecular biology at St Jude's Children's Hospital, Memphis Tennessee.

Scientific trophy

16 May 2018

Another microscope trophy in burr oak, this time for Ryan at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, St Jude's Children's hospital, Memphis Tennessee.

The trophy is about 6 inches in diameter, and about 10 inches tall.

More on science trophies.

Hollow eggs
Four hollow wooden eggs in Bubinga, Spalted beech and olive ash.

Hollow eggs

15 May 2018

Four eggs. Experimenting with form and shape for Ben, these eggs are about 5 inches tall, are hollowed out, and have a push fit opening. In woodturning terms they are "boxes" .

More about these eggs.

Sessile oak
A fine specimen of Sessile oak at Castle Howard Arboretum

Sessile oak

5 May 2018

Following a visit to the Yorkshire Arboretum at Castle Howard, I have been updating the Woodland section of this site, which includes pictures of trees I have seen growing around the country. There is a page about the Yorkshire Arboretum, and also about Antony House Woodland Garden in Cornwall. There is also a page about burrs (when they are still on the tree).

Ryedale Woodturners
Ryedale Woodturners pyrographed platter

Ryedale Woodturners

19 April 2018

A pyrographed platter advertising our local woodturning club - Ryedale Woodturners. The club meets monthly at Snainton Village Hall, and always welcomes guests and new members to enjoy a woodturning demonstration, usually by a well known professional turner or a visitor from another club. More on pyrographed platter.

More about Ryedale Woodturners.

English literature trophy
Sixth Form English trophy in olive ash

Literature trophy

18 April 2018

Jo commissioned a large trophy awarded for excellence in Sixth Form English literature. Made on request from olive ash, this stands about 10 inches tall, on an 8 inch diamter plinth. A small enamel pin badge provided by Jo was added.

Finished to a high polish with carnauba wax.

Have a look at more English trophies.

Square bowl
Square ash bowl with wings
Square bowl
Square ash bowl with wings

Square, winged bowl in ash - from the top and underneath

23 March 2018

A square ash bowl, with corners folded down as can be seen in the photos. Finished in oil and beeswax. Why not have a look at a gallery of bowls

Olive ash bowl
Olive ash bowl with knots and holes

Olive ash bowl

23 March 2018

An eleven inch diameter burr olive ash bowl. Simple in shape, with the knots and holes mixing with the olive ash grain in the middle to create a very appealing unique piece of woodturning.

Finished in oil and beeswax.

Have a look at a gallery of bowls.

Wooden bud vase
Bud vase with small alder cones
Wooden bud vase
Bud vase with sprigs of winter heather

Bud vases with alder and heather

20 March 2018

Two small bud vases, displaying small cones of alder, and a few fresh sprigs of winter heather. These are about 4 inches high, in sycamore and spalted beech, and are finished with a high sheen carnauba wax polish.

A gallery of bud vases

Tea light holders
A selection of tea light holders in spalted beech

Tea light holders

18 March 2018

A selection of tea light holders with brass-plated inserts. These are made from spalted beech, and are about 3 inches in diameter, and from 2 to 4 inches tall. They work best in trios, of small, medium and large height.

More about these tea light holders.
Tea light/candle holder gallery.

Hand made Easter bunnies
Samples of turned wooden bunnies.

Four Easter bunnies

15 March 2018

Four little Easter bunnies have popped up. Made from yew with African blackwood eyes and nose, leather ears, and wiry whiskers, just in time for Easter. They are about 3 inches tall, and are the latest creation from Dan.

More about these Easter bunnies.

Hand made acorn trophy
12 small pegs as samples for a potential art project.

A dozen pegs

9 March 2018

Twelve small pegs about the size of golf tees, made for an artist who is exploring a sculpture with maybe 200 such small pegs. These are in ash or lime, and are simple experiments in shape and form to see what might appeal. Those that are coloured have had woodstain applied to them. All are designed to fit 6mm holes. OT115

Hand made acorn trophy
10 acorn trophies made for Tilhill forestry by Dan Fearnley

Acorn trophies

9 March 2018

Ten acorn trophies made for Tilhill Forestry. Spalted beech has been used in preference to oak for its strong pattern. 3 inch diameter acorns sit on a 4 inch diameter base, and the whole stands about 9 inches tall. Another collection made by my son Dan Fearnley, who recently joined the oldfern brand.

More about acorn trophies

6 March 2018

A message for Jane Pink, regarding you enquiry about pyrography techniques. Could you try again - I have tried to reply but I get an error every time I try to use your email address.

HP Sauce bottle in wood
A wooden HP Sauce bottle for a Derbyshire football club.

HP Sauce Bottle

26 February 2018

Don't ask me why, but Richard folllowed up his request for a champagne bottle with a slightly more everyday object - an HP Sauce bottle. As a result, here is a standard size bottle, based on the classic glass version of the product, in rippled ash with pyrographed labels.


More on this HP Sauce bottle & pyrography

Man of the Match trophy
A Man of the Match trophy for a Derbyshire football club.

Man of the Match

26 February 2018

Richard requested a Man of the Match trophy for his Foxes football club, in the shape of a champagne bottle. He also requested a stand to provide a flat surface for adding annual shields or plaques. The result is this pyrographed rippled ash bottle, resting on an olive ash stand, which has the bark retained on one edge.

More on this bottle trophy & sports trophies

Robin Hood's Bay
Pyrographed view of the Bay Hotel at Robin Hood's Bay.

Robin Hood's Bay

24 February 2018

A platter created as an example of landscape sketch work done for a pyrography demonstration at Snainton Woodworking Supplies on 24 February (it is now for sale). This is the Bay Hotel, the official end of the Coast to Coast walk, on the slipway at the bottom of the village.

More on this Robin Hood's Bay platter

Pyrography sampler
A large pyrography sampler created for a pyrography demonstration day.

Pyrography sampler

24 February 2018

A platter created as a pyrography sampler, made for a pyrography demonstration at Snainton Woodworking Supplies on 24 February 2018. The idea was to show some different lettering styles and sizes, and a little self-indulgent portrait work. Quite a large piece at 14 inches diameter. In sycamore, which gives the best surface and smoothness for detailed pyrography.

More about pyrography.

Maths trophy
A House Maths Champions trophy for Burford School.

House Maths

13 February 2018

Charlotte requested a pentagonal trophy to present annually to the House Maths Champions at her school. Made from rippled sycamore, with pyrographed inscriptions and school badge. The surface of the pentagon is flat, to allow small pentagonal shields to be added, marking the annual champions.

More on pentagon trophies & maths trophies

Turned wooden mice
Tured wooden mice peeping out of their box

Mice peeping

11 February 2018

Three mice peeping out of their box before being posted to Ian in Essex.

Turned in yew with blackwood eyes, leather ears and tail, and about 2 inches long (in the body, excluding the tail).

More about turned yew mice.

Hand made oak communion racks
Communion glass racks in solid oak

A pair of stacking communion trays

10 February 2018

A request from Jean for a pair of oak trays to hold 40 communion glasses each She wanted them to stack, so the handles are different sizes, and there are spacers on one tray to give clearance for the glasses.

More on communion trays..

Spinning tops
A collection of small spinning tops

Spinning tops

8 February 2018

A request from Ian in Essex for spinning tops, for his shop selling "products with a focus on quality, craftsmanship and sustainability".

The tops are made in a variety of timbers and sizes, all individual in their shape and spinning style.

These tops mark a doubling in the oldfern workforce - they were made by my son Dan.

More about these spinning tops.

Scout trophy
A collection of small spinning tops

Scouting trophy

28 January 2018

A request for a commemorative scouts trophy, in memory of Mark Soames. The disc is a lovely piece of olive ash, the base is ash. The front of the plinth was requested to be 2 inches high, to accommodate brass plaques to be added annually. A standard orienteering compass is fitted in the centre.

More about disc shaped trophies.

Memorial golf trophy
Tall memorial trophy for a golf club

Golf cup

21 January 2018

A request from Charles for a large memorial golf trophy has resulted in this tall cup. Standing at fourteen inches high, it is one of the larger trophies I have made.

In four parts and joined together with mortise and tenon, plus dowels, the whole is made from a single oak beam.

More about this memorial cup, cups generally, sports trophies and commemorative items.

Acorn gift
Salesperson of the Year trophy for Acorn distribution in Indianapolis

Acorn gift

14 January 2018

A request from Daryl for a Salesperson of the Year trophy resulted in this award being made. As the company it is for is called Acorn, it obviously is a suitable subject.

Both base and acorn are made from spalted beech, which gives the marked patterns in the wood. The trophy base is 5" diameter, the whole is 9" tall.
More on acorn trophies.

Music trophy
An inscribed plinth for a brass band figurine. Plinth is 3 inches wide, 5 inches tall.

Brass band trophy

4 January 2018

A brass band in Buxton had a delightful small brass trumpet player figure and wanted a plinth for him to sit on. Together these make a memorial trophy, to be awarded to the Players' Player of the Year, as the pyrographed inscription indicates. The base is made from 3" square spalted beech, rounded with pommels at the top, and resting on a small turned circular base.

More on music trophies and plinths.

Oak candle holders
Two sets of three candle holders, in oak with solid brass inserts

Oak candle trios

20 December 2017

Six oak candle holders commissioned by Heather, for her Christmas table, a slight adaptation of a design she suggested. They are made in two sets of 3, designed to hold dinner candles, and vary in height 2 inches, 3 inches and 4 inches, with a base diameter of about 3 inches. They have solid brass inserts.

More on candlesticks and tea light holders.

Oak school trophy
Oak disc awarded in memory of Davina Kirk for most commendations.
Oak vocational trophy
Award for the best Vocational Student 2017

Davina Kirk and Vocational Awards

20 December 2017

27 trophies for the annual Malton School senior celebration evening. Here are just a couple.

More in the 2017 trophy gallery

Geography trophy
Geography trophy - a globe on a square plinth in spalted beech.
Fox and geese game
Fox and geese game in oak presented as a maths prize

Geography trophy and Fox and geese

20 December 2017

Two more trophies for Malton School - a geography award and a maths puzzle given to the UK Maths Competition Best in School winner.

More in the 2017 trophy gallery

Turned yew snowmen
Snowman families and Christmas trees turned in yew. Woven jute scarves.
Turned yew snowmen
Snowman families and Christmas trees turned in yew. Woven jute scarves.

Christmas trees and snowpeople

18 December 2017

More small groups of Christmas ornaments - all turned from yew. Snowman, snowlady, snowgirl, snowboy.

More on snowmen figures

Poc poc
Poc poc figure from Abney and Teal.
Carved wooden pocpoc
Poc poc figure from Abney and Teal


22 December 2017

My niece's little boy Frankie just loves Abney and Teal on TV, and in particular the Pocpocs. This one is carved from elm - no turning involved - and is about 3 inches high.

Rugby trophy
Rugby trophy for a junior rugby club in Lancashire

Rugby trophy

20 December 2017

Liz requested a rugby trophy to presented weekly. I suggested this design: a rugby ball on a kicking tee. The ball is turned in sycamore, the base is ash. Around the plinth five very appropriate words are inscribed: Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline, Sportsmanship. I think the trophy is to be awarded weekly or monthly to the best player or contributor in the club (a junior club).
More on this rugby trophy and sports trophies.

Turned yew snowmen
Snowman families and Christmas trees turned in yew

Snowmen and families

4 December 2017

This group of snowmen flew off to Melanie for Christmas in Boylston, Massachusetts. There are four families each consisting of a snowman and snow woman, snow boy, snowgirl, and snowtoddler. At the back are Christmas trees. All turned in yew, with ebony and mahogany hats, and woven jute scarves. More on snow people.

Acorn gift
Acorn gift for a researcher at Sky Sports Rugby Union

Acorn gift

2 December 2017

Johnnie requested a leaving gift for a colleague, based upon acorn trophies seen elsewhere on this website. This one is turned in spalted beech, and has a somewhat cryptic inscription to the departing member of staff.

Acorns have a lot of symbolism, and can be used to the birth of ideas, the growth of mighty things from small beginnings, the hope of renewal. This is probably why they continue to prove popular.
More on acorn trophies.

Bud vases
Small bud vases on show at Ryedale Woodturners exhibition.
Woodturning exhibition
A selection of items on sale at Ryedale Woodturners exhibition. Some may still be for sale.

A few exhibits at Ryedale Woodturners show

25 November 2017

A selection of items at my woodturning club show. More from the turning exhibition.

Turned wooden mouse
Spalted beech mouse with matching box

Mouse and house

14 November 2017

A small mouse in front of his house, a lidded box made from the same spalted beech. He fits in snugly, if he curls up his tail. Leather eyes and tail, and African blackwood eyes.

Requested by Margaret for a Christmas present.

More on turned wooden mice.

Yew dishes
Three shallow dishes made from a single yew log.

Yew dishes

14 November 2017

Small dishes made from a yew log, retaining some of their natural bark around the rim. These are about 5 inches in diameter and a couple of inches high. They were made following a request from Margaret for a small bowl to put keys and coins in.

More on yew natural edge bowls.

Ball finial for summerhouse
Aged and worn ball finial in need of replacement.
Ball finial for summerhouse
Large oak ball finial - 6 inch diameter ball on an 11 inch base.

Ball finial in oak

8 November 2017

Richard asked for a ball finial to replace the rotted one on top of his summerhouse. An 18 cm diameter ball turned from 2 oak blocks, resting on a 27 cm base. Osmo oil finish. More on summerhouse finials.

Golf trophy in wood
Golf trophy based on a large driver

Golf pairs trophy

5 November 2017

Nigel asked if I could make a golf trophy based on a shortened wood. This one has the club carved from goncalo alves, an African blackwood handle, and an oak shaft. The plinth was made to a 2 inch depth to accommodate some engraving plaques at the rear. More on sports trophies.

Summerhouse finial
Ball finial for a summerhouse.

Ball finial

24 October 2017

Carol asked for a large ball finial for her summerhouse in Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire. This one is a six inch diameter, resting on a 10 inch diameter octagonal base. All in larch, left untreated ready for painting or staining.

More on summerhouse finials.

acorn trophy
Swimming trophy in the shape of an acorn.

Acorn trophy

24 October 2017

Andy in Auguerstertal, Switzerland, requested a trophy in the shape of an acorn on a circular plinth. This one is made from spalted beech. The acorn is 4 inches in diameter, the base 5 inches, and the whole trophy stands around 10 inches tall. It bears the inscription Baarbierians Open Water Swimming, and will be awarded by the Baarbierians club for swimming competitions in lakes surrounded by oak trees (hence the acorn). More on acorn trophies.

Turned wooden mice
Small mice turned from yew branches.

12 mice found in the shavings

20 October 2017

A dozen small mice found in my workshop amongst the shavings. As usual these are turned from yew branches, with African blackwood eyes and leather ears and tails. About 2 inches long. More on turned wooden mice.

Summerhouse finial
A 5 inch diameter larch acorn on an 18 inch diameter ash base.
Summerhouse finial
Chris's summerhouse in Braunton, Devon, with the finial in place.

Summerhouse finial - acorn

18 October 2017

Chris sent me a photo of his summerhouse in Braunton, Devon. One of the largest bases I have been asked to do, with a 45 cm diameter. In larch and ash. More on summerhouse finials

Summerhouse finial
Circular wooden trophies with pyrographed inscriptions and enamel badge TR210

21 disc trophies for Malton School

18 October 2017

Into production mode in recent days, producing 21 circular oak trophies for Malton School's annual Celebration evening for their Key Stage 3 students. Each has the winner's name pyrographed on, and an enamel school badge. More on disc trophies

Cricket trophy
Young cricketer of the Year individual trophy. In ash, with the ball in padauk. TR211
House Cup turned from wood.
House cup turned from horse chestnut. TR212

Young cricketer and House Cup trophies

10 October 2017

A Young Cricketer of the Year trophy turned from ash and padauk, and a House Cup in horse chestnut, presented to the student with the most housepoints in the year.
More on cricket trophies and trophy cups

Maths trophy
Fox and geese game presented as maths competition winners' prizes.

Fox and Geese maths trophies

18 October 2017

Two Fox and Geese pegboard games inscribed and presented as Maths trophies to the winners of the Junior and Intermediate maths challenge competitions at Malton School. Made from oak, with wooden golf tees used for the pegs. More on maths trophies

Summerhouse finial
A 5 inch diameter larch acorn on a 10 inch diameter ash base.
Summerhouse finial
Peter's summerhouse office in Tamworth, Staffordshire, with the finial in place.

Summerhouse finial - acorn in situ

10 October 2017

Peter was kind enough to send me a photo of his summerhouse in Tamworth, with the finial I made installed and painted to match the house. The summerhouse is used as an office, when Peter is not looking out of the windows!
More on summerhouse finials

orienteering trophy
A pair of orienteering trophies for Claro orienteering club, based around Harrogate.

Orienteering trophies

27 September2017

Linda requested two trophies for the Claro club orienteering league, based around the Harrogate area. These have the now standard features of a central orienteering compass, inscription, and a plinth for adding engraving plaques. About 8 inches in diameter, made from olive ash. More on orienteering trophies.

Summerhouse finial
A 5 inch diameter larch acorn on a 9 inch diameter larch base.
Summerhouse finial
Ian's summerhouse in Oundle, Northamptonshire, with the finial in place.

Summerhouse finial - acorn in situ

25 September 2017

'Tis the season for summerhouses! Another finial, this one for Ian in Oundle. Larch, 9" diameter and about 12" tall. Ian sent me a picture of it in place. More on summerhouse finials

Summerhouse finial
A 5 inch diameter larch acorn on a 12 inch diameter ash base.
Summerhouse finial
A 5 inch diameter ball on a 9 inch diameter octagonal base.

Summerhouse finial - acorn in situ

September 2017

Max sent me a picture of his finial sitting on top of a fine example of a summerhouse. The hope is that it will weather to the same grey tones as the cedar roof shingles. More on summerhouse finials

Acorn finial
An acorn finial for a summerhouse in

Acorn finial

6 August 2017

Peter requested an acorn finial on a ten inch diameter base, with some specific requirements for grooves on the base to enable it to fit comfortably on his summerhouse. The acorn is larch and the base is ash. The finial was provided unfinished, due to be stained to match the summerhouse.

More on acorn finials

Summerhouse finial
A 5 inch diameter larch acorn on a 12 inch diameter ash base.
Summerhouse finial
TA 5 inch diameter ball on a 9 inch diameter octagonal base.

Summerhouse finial - acorn stained to match

5 August 2017

A fniial for a summerhoue in Surrey. The owner, Colin, was kind enough to send a picture. More on summerhouse finials

money box
Personalised christening money box for Olivia Rose.

Money box

8 july 2017

Valerie requested a small money box barrel for Olivia Rose's forthcoming christening. This one is made from olive ash, and is about 4 inches wide by 6 inches high. There is an inscription giving the date of birth and other details on the underside of the barrel. The barrel is a tight push fit, so Olivia could get her money out when she is a little older, unless the top and bottom are glued together. More on money boxes

Growth mindset trophy
A duo of trophies, to be awarded for Growth Mindset and Christian Values, at Temple Grafton Church of England primary school

Growth Mindset Award

8 July 2017

Two trophies for Temple Grafton School. One is the Christian Values Award, the other the Growth Mindset Award. They are turned from olive ash, and the discs are 10 inch diameter. Small discs will be added around the trophy to mark the winners each year. The disc rests at a slight angle on a plinth, supported by a peg at the rear.

The Strategy of the Genes
Two ladies "playing chess" with the chess board and pieces in the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh. Penelope Kay says: "The Strategy of the Genes is one realisation of the DNA codes [Dr Pipps Thomson] works with, the a,c,g and t notations given weight and volume as playing pieces in a game whose rules are obscure. The title of the piece is taken from the late Professor C.H.Waddington's book of the same name."

Strategy of the Genes

11 July 2017

Penelope tells me that the "chess set" I made back in April, now named The Strategy of the Genes, has been on tour around Edinburgh. It has been to the Assembly rooms - where the two ladies in the picture are looking at it - a shopping centre, and a conference with Dr Pippa Thomson, who originally inspired the work. It may next move to the foyer of the University psychology building in George's Square.

Uli Arndt trophy
A science trophy in memory of Uli Arndt. Presented by the Culver family to a primary school.

Uli Arndt trophy

8 July 2017

Annabel requested a science trophy for a primary school, to be presented in memory of her father Uli Arndt (1924-2006), who worked at the Medical Research Centre Laboratory of Molecular Biology, specialising in X ray crystallography.

The trophy is based on a similar version made in February of this year. This version is made from burr oak. More on science trophies.

Summerhouse finial
A 5 inch diameter acorn on a 7 inch diamer base. All in cedar.
Summerhouse finial
TA 5 inch diameter ball on a 9 inch diameter octagonal base.

Summerhouse finials - an acorn and a ball

1 July 2017

Two more large finials for the tops of summerhouses. The one on the left is made from cedar, on the right the ball is cedar, the octagonal base is larch (cedar is not always easy to source in the right size). More about summerhouse finials

Young Inventors trophy
Young inventors trophy

Young Inventor

17 June 2017

A request came from Ali for a Young Inventor's trophy for The Roche School. Made up of elements that a young inventor might use, all turned from spalted beech: two screwdrivers in a stand, a soldering iron and plug, a reel of solder and nuts and bolt. All standing on a pyrographed spalted beech plinth, inscribed with The Perry Prize for Creativity.

Golf trophy
Golf driver turned wooden golf trophy

Golf driver trophy

5 June 2017

A request from Gary to make a golf trophy which was based on the chisel trophies and a previous golf trophy, but with a driver head, and resting on a golf ball. The result was this trophy made from a variety of wood. Golf trophy

Leadership trophy
Individual leadership trophy

Leadership trophy

5 June 2017

A request came from Lyssa at Ringwood School to see if I could make an individual trophy for Leadership, to complement the larger perpetual trophy that I made for the school last year. The result is a four inch diameter trophy reflecting the shapes used in the original - chess pieces - and olive ash was used once again to tie in with the name of the lady who originally commissioned the trophy. More on this Leadership trophy

Mouse box ornaments
Three turned mice with matching boxes for them to nest in.

Mice in boxes

16 May 2017

A request for three mice with matching boxes came from Paul, for his granddaughters. His idea was to have ears and tail poking out of the lids, and for the mice to make their nests in felt inside the boxes. Ash, bubinga and oak were used. Mice in boxes

More news from


May blossom on the hawthorns at Appleton le Moor

Hawthorn, Appleton le Moor

26 May 2018

The May blossom on the hawthorns is the most spectacular I can remember. The trees on Appleton common were covered in white. I noticed a similar effect near Brambling Fields, where the hills look to have grown white rocks in recent weeks. More in the trees section.

Beningbrough Hall
New oak beams installed in a new development at the side of the restaurant

Scampston Hall

24 May 2018

The fine weather in May continues, and a beautiful day for visiting the walled garden at Scampston Hall, near Malton. Peonies were the most notable flower in bloom, but there is always lots to see here. Some pictures of trees in Scampston parkland are in the tree section.

Yorkshire Arboretum
Camassias in bloom at the Yorkshire Arboretum

Yorkshire Arboretum

13 May 2018

Camassias are widespread and in full bloom at the Yorkshire Arboretum, Castle Howard, which we visited this week to see the spring blossom at its best.

I have added a gallery showing some of the trees at the Yorkshire Arboretum.

Beningbrough Hall
New oak beams installed in a new development at the side of the restaurant

Beningbrough Hall

4 May 2018

A new overarching garden plan has been drawn up for Beningbrough Hall, and elements are already being developed. The aim is to improve the links between the alreaady popular areas , and create some new, modern, areas in currently quiet places.

Acorn Bank
Acorn Bank herb garden, on an early Good Friday in late March.

Acorn Bank

30 March 2018

A visit to Acorn Bank garden at Temple Sowerby. An early Easter meant that the structure of the garden was to be viewed, rather than the actual plants. A couple of exceptions - the daphne mezerium was in full blossom, and there were daffodils in the grass.

Pheasant visiting the garden

Pheasant in the garden

14 March 2018

We occasionally get a visit from a pheasant, checking out what might have dropped from the bird feeder. This one has very bright and colourful markings on his head, of the vicar variety with his strong white collar, and a white streak on top of his head.

Siskin visiting for sunflower seeds

Siskin on the seed feeder

14 March 2018

Another winter visitor popped into the garden, though these do appear fairly regularly in winter, providing sunflower seeds are put out for them. Smaller than a greenfinch, with little streaks on the rump, they are busy little birds when they come.

Fieldfares in the garden, brought in by a severe cold spell

Fieldfares in the garden

1 March 2018

The blast of cold weather this week brought some unusual visitors to the garden. Fieldfares and redwing both made an appearance, competing with the more usual blackbirds and starlings for the mealworms we put out to help them through the cold and the snow. The redwing flew off before I got my camera, but the fieldfares were regulars for 3 days.

Beast from the East
Snow covered topiary in early March

March snow in the front garden

1 March 2018

A week of severe weather dubbed "The Beast from the East" (weather from Siberia) saw temperatures stay below zero and heavy snow for a week. This was the effect in our front garden, before the high winds blew the snow off the hedging and drifted it up on our drive.

Queen wasp
Queen wasp with male wasp in an ambrace

Queen and male wasp

6 October 2017

We spotted this pair of wasps clasped together for at least half an hour, flying and on the ground. The larger one is a queen, the smaller one with the large wings is a male, who exists at this time of year simply to fertilise the queen who will then hibernate over winter and found a new colony next year.

A good crop of pears in Autumn 2017
Pear arch
Pears trained up and over a trellis arch

October pears

October 2017

This year seems to be a bumper one for pears. We have never had so many and in such good condition since we planted our Conference pear about 25 years ago. We have one bush planted and trained either side of a trellis arch. The trick now is to catch them just when they are ripe!

Box blight
Incinerating box blight casualty
Box blight
Box blight attacks established box topiary

Incineration of box badly affected by blight

4 Sept 2017

Severe box blight led to a decision to cut down and burn some 18 year old topiary. A hard choice. More details about this drastic treatment of box blight

Dyffryn Fernant
Cottage garden planting in front of the house at Dyffryn Fernant

Dyffryn Fernant garden

August 2017

Set in a valley near Fishguard in Pembrokeshire. A private garden open for people to ramble through the different named areas and enjoy the casual feel of a garden belonging to someone. Grasses, bog plants, cannas, ferns, are just some of the memorable features. More on Dyffryn Fernant garden

Colby Woodland Garden
The walled garden at Colby, Pembrokeshire.

Colby Woodland Garden

August 2017

A return visit to Colby Woodland garden near Amroth, Pembrokeshire - 20 years on from our last! Open spaces and wildflowers complement the ornamental walled garden near the entrance, with stone and trickling water offsetting the established planting. More on Colby Woodland garden

Laugharne Castle
A 19th century garden laid out in the ruins of medieval Laugharne Castle.

Laugharne Castle garden

August 2017

An unusual setting for a garden, inside the ruins of a medieval castle. This is actually a restoration by Cadw of what the gardens might have looked like when they were established in the early 19th century, as part of Castle House's grounds. More on Laugharne Castle

Tredegar House parterre
A parterre in the Orangery Garden at Tredegar House, made using minerals

Tredegar parterre

August 2017

A parterre in the Orangery Garden is shaped from different coloured sand, shells, lime, coal and other minerals, complementing the mown grass and minimal planting. Elsewhere is a wilder Orchard Garden and a colourful Cedar garden (dominated by an old cedar). More on Tredegar House

Hardwick Hall
A view of Hardwick Hall from the orchard area of the walled garden.

Hardwick Hall

17 August 2017

Hardwick Hall is a fine Elizabethan house in Derbyshire, not far from the M1 (sadly near enough to hear the constant drone of traffic). Since our last visit some years ago the stable block has become the entrance and cafe, leaving the ktichens in the house more authentic. There is fine herbaceous planting iin the courtyard at the front of the house, and a walled garden with a mix of wild areas, orchard and herb garden. More on Hardwick Hall

Hydrangeas in full bloom

Hydrangeas heavily laden

August 2017

Hydrangeas heavily laden with bloom this year, after a year without any flowers in 2016. Pruning at the wrong time was no doubt the cause of the missing blooms last year - I cut them back in winter. This year I didn't prune at all, and the flowers came in abundance, though on leggy stems.

Beningbrough Hall
Doorway from the herbaceous border to the restaurant area at Beningbrough Hall.

Beningbrough Hall

23 June 2017

Every time we visit Beningbrough Hall gardens there is something different that catches the eye, either because of the change of season or because of a new development. This corner has an enticing view through the doorway. More on Beningbrough Hall

Spiders' nest
Hundreds of tiny spiders in a nest

Baby spiders in their nest

7 June 2017

Two fuzzy balls appeared in the garden this week, both on the box plants. Closer inspection revealed hundreds of tiny spiders. When the bush was disturbed slightly they all spread out, only to regather in the ball once things had quietened down.

Red azalea
Brilliant red azaleas flowers cover the entire plant for a couple of weeks.
Purple azalea
A delicate purple variety purchased from Poets Cottage at Lealholm in 2016

Azaleas in pots

20 May 2017

I don't have acid soil, so azaleas need to be grown in pots, where they do quite well. They also have the advantage of being able to be moved into a position for best viewing during flowering, and then moved away to a shady area when they fade. As is often the case I cannot remember the varieties.

Sizergh Castle
Acers in the rock garden at Sizergh Castle

Acers at Sizergh

22 April 2017

Cold but sunny on a visit to Sizergh Castle, where the rock garden excelled with the old acers coming in to colour. Elsewhere the new stumpery was well planted, and now leads up to the long herbaceous bed in a natural progression on going through the gate to the gardens.

Levens Hall topiary
Topiary neatly clipped at Levens Hall

Topiary at Levens Hall

20 April 2017

Topiary at Levens Hall is amazing all year round, but particularly good in Spring, underplanted with primroses and with tulips. The structure of the garden comes to the fore, with hard pruning of limes and other shrubs, all waiting to burst back into growth. Blighted box borders have been replaced with ilex crenata and willow wands.

Muncaster Castle
Rhododendrons in bloom at Muncaster Castle

Rhododendron at Muncaster

18 April 2017

The rhododendrons, azaleas, camelias andmagnolias at Muncaster Castle in the western Lake District are enormous in places, and covered with colour at the end of April. This view is from the castle terrace, looking out towards the hills of Birker Fell.

Holker Hall
Tulips underplanting the ornamental hawthorns at Holker Hall

Tulips and structure Holker Hall

17 April 2017

Holker Hall is a stunning garden all year round, with something of interest always happening. The old tennis court garden was planted up with early tulips, and the bare structure of the shaped ornamental hawthorns is almost as appealing. As the daffodils were fading elsewhere, the rhododendron were coming in to bloom.

Forced rhubarb
Rhubarb forced under a terracotta pot.

Rhubarb forcer

April 2017

Two terracotta rhubarb forcers do their job in the vegetable plot, producing bright red and pink shoots on the new growth of rhubarb. We have to be careful though, if left too long the force their way out of the pot, knocking off the lid. Last year this resulted in a cracked lid as it landed on the path. The stalks taste much sweeter than if grown naturally, hardly needing any sugar when cooking.

Frogs in pond
Frogs gathering in the pond in early March.

Frogs' arrival

12 March 2017

The frogs arrived this week with the onset of a few days of mild weather and sunshine. Lots of frogspawn resulted in between the rushes and irises. Hopefully this will survive the inevitable frosty days yet to come. Newts are also in the pond - but harder to photograph!

Footprints in the snow
Footprints in the snow on a cold January morning. Mainly blackbirds.

Footprints in the snow

18 January 2017

Not much exciting happening in the garden at the moment, though the heathers are coming in to flower and snowdrops are beginning to push through. At least the birds provided some patterns in the brief snowfall last week, before the grey damp misty days returned.

Apple picker
Wolfcraft apple picker on extending pole

Apple picker

19 October 2016

Climbing apple trees for picking is not the easiest or safest pursuit, and waiting for them to drop if you have a hard surface underneath means cuts and bruises (to the apples), so this apple picker is a good find. Made by Wolfcraft, it fits on the end of their extending pole, and is simply a nylon bag with a toothed ring around the top. A twist and the apple is bagged. The pole doubles up with a saw attachment for high level pruning.

Sanvitalia Cuzco Yellow
Long lasting pot plant Sanvitalia Cuzco Yellow

Sanvitalia Cuzco Yellow

19 October 2016

The Cuzco Yellow continues to flower and increase in size, its flowers now dangling over the pot far enough to rest on the table. I am guessing the first frost is going to finish it off, unless I take it into the greenhouse and let it continue a while longer. Getting on for four months now since first planted up. It needs plenty of water, though a couple of times when it has dried up, it comes back to life once given some liquid.

Tulip tree, Dalemain
200 year old Liriodendron tulipifera in front of Dalemain house.
Holly trees, Wentworth Castle
Renovated holly trees in the Union Jack garden at Wentworth Castle

Tulip tree and holly stumps

15 October 2016

A little updating on the gallery of trees which is on this site, spotted on travels through the year. These two are a 200 year old tulip tree at Dalemain, near Penrith on the edge of the Lake District, and a renovated holly tree in the gardens at Wentworth Castle, near Barnsley. There are many more on the trees pages.

Dahlias at Newby Hall
Massed ranks of dahlias in borders at Newby Hall

Dahlias at Newby Hall

8 September 2016

There always seems to be something for all seasons at Newby Hall gardens, near Ripon. Lots of colour still in evidence on our last visit, including two shamelessly brilliant colourful dahlia borders near the restaurant. Also in evidence as cut flowers in the Hall itself, spotted on an interesting guided tour of the house.

Parcevall Hall Gardens
A quiet corner at the end of one of the terraces at Parcevall Hall.

A quiet corner at Parcevall Hall

6 September 2016

Parcevall Hall Gardens near Appletreewick in the Yorkshire Dales is not the easiest of places to visit, tucked away on a hill up a quiet valley. But that is no doubt part of its charm, a beautiful, tranquil place for calm and reflection, away from busy modern life.

Sanvitalia Cuzco Yellow
Long lasting pot plant Sanvitalia Cuzco yellow

Sanvitalia Cuzco Yellow

29 August 2016

This has been a good find this year. Sanvitalia Cuzco Yellow, sold as a patio plant or hanging basket plant. I bought four small plants and put them in a 12 inch pot and they have bushed out and flowered for a couple of months now. Still going strong..

Roof boss on pergola
A roof boss in a pergola in Thornton le Dale. Olive ash.

Roof boss in olive ash

20 August 2016

A new roof and turned roof boss for a twenty year old pergola. This is the underside of the acorn finial pictured in the woodturning section. The two pastimes occassionally merge. A few detals of the original building plus this year's renovation project are on the site. More on this roof boss.

Threave Gardens
The patio design area at Threave gardens

Threave garden in Scotland

2 August 2016

The patio garden at Threave in Dumfries and Galloway. A National Trust for Scotland training garden, it has different areas showcasing different types of garden design. A brilliant place for picking up ideas that might fit in your own garden.

Helmsley Walled Garden
One of the long herbacious borders at Helmsley Walled Garden

Helmsley Walled garden

30 July 2016

A delightful visit to Helmsley Walled Garden, on a sunny day when the massed colours were at their best. We visited this garden when Alison Ticehurst first started the renovation project in 1994, and have seen it mature into the brilliant garden it is today. We will be back!

Mirehouse garden
An old yew tree avenue and fernery in the beehive garden

Mirehouse beehive garden

23 June 2016

The Mirehouse is a beautiful light-filled country manor house near the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake. Frequented by Tennyson and other poets in the past. Today the gardens offer a pleasant walk through woodland, scented ornamental planting in the beehive garden (a rejuvenated walled garden) and other planting around the house.

Dalemain poppy
The Dalemain blue poppy, one of many delightful plants in the extensive gardens

Dalemain poppy

21 June 2016

The deep blue flowers of the Dalemain poppy, photographed on site at the impressive gardens at Dalemain House in the Lake District, near Penrith. Meconopsis grandis Dalemain grow in abundance in a semi-wild area of the gardens, two to three feet high.

Askham Hall gardens
Terraces planted with shrub roses and herbaceous plants. Yew topiary in the background.

Askham Hall

19 June 2016

Askham Hall near Penrith is now a boutique hotel, but the garden is open to visitors. And what a lovely garden, with meadow, woodland, long terraces, topiary, and a large, working kitchen garden providing food for a delightful cafe on site. Developing further, with new planting in evidence.

Lowther Castle Garden
Irises planted in the 2011 restoration and revelation garden in front of the old hall ruins.

Lowther Castle

18 June 2016

A visit to Lowther Castle near Penrith, where Dan Pearson has designed a garden around and inside the ruined stately home. Also in the woods are the remains of pleasure gardens and Japanese gardens - the outlines have been excavated, but not restored. A work in progress, it will be worth revisiting in a couple of years time

Muslin moth
Female muslin moth

Muslin moth

12 June 2016

This impressive visitor was found resting on our front door one day. A little internet research on ukMoths.org.uk reveals it was a female muslin moth, diaphora mendica. Apparently the male is a dull brown in comparison. Described as quite common, but it is the first time we have spotted this one in the garden. I hope its caterpillars eat the dock and chickweed that the website mentions, and not our plants.

Granny's bonnets flowering in late May


30 May 2016

Columbine, Granny's bonnets, or aquilega. These plants have been with us since we arrived 30 years ago. They self seed around the garden, and come up in a variety of colours ranging from dark purple to white. We let them grow where they want to, occasionally pulling out the odd plant that doesn't fit with its surroundings.

A tall upright fern. Not sure of its name.


23 May 2016

The ferns have been unfurling in their almost primeval way. We have a variety of different types, but sadly I forgot to make a note of what each one was as we planted them. This one has a tall, erect habit and is one of the last to unfurl.

Hazel catkins
Catkins on the hazel in early March


18 March 2016

Almost the spring equinox, and a few days of sunshine (though not a lot of warmth otherwise) has brought out the catkins on the corkscrew hazel. This is a shrub for all seasons, with the contorted branches highlighted in winter, the catkins in spirng, the curious leaves in summer, and then the clusters of hazel nuts in autumn. Very popular with the birds as a perch..

Rhododendrons at Nawton Towers
One of 35 gardens mentioned in my Virtual Tour of Yorkshire Gardens talk

Rhododendrons at Nawton Towers

25 February 2016

I gave a talk to Boston Spa Gardening Society yesterday evening, entitled A Virtual Tour of Yorkshire Gardens, the first time I have given this talk for a few years now. Slides from the talk, plus a map of Yorkshire showing where the gardens are, and brief notes on each, are available in the Garden Talks section.

Snowdrops at Burton Agnes
Snowdrops in their millions throughout the woodland. Notice the carex pendula (weeping sedge) at the front of the picture. I wonder if it is invading, or under control?

Snowdrops at Burton Agnes

23 February 2016

A carpet of snowdrops covers the ground in the woodland at Burton Agnes Hall, near Driffield. The grounds are open to see this spectacle, although the house remains closed for a few more weeks. The snowdrop coverage is really very extensive, not just a few patches here and there.

Box blight
Is it the dreaded box blight

Bare patches on box

17 January 2016

Very worrying bare patches have developed on two low growing box hedges in the last two months. I have seen box blight in gardens around the country. Is this it? I have a lot of box topiary in the garden, I hope it is not all going to be attacked. Other bushes are not showing symptoms as yet.

Stick Man
Stick Man spotted in the garden.

Stick man

17 January 2016

Watching Julia Donaldson's and Axel Sheffler's Stick Man animation over Christmas made me look in the stick basket (I save reasonable sized twiggy clippings to use as kindling). And look who I should find - a friend of Stick Man. To be honest he is actually two sticks glued together, but please don't tell my granddaughters that I have cheated. Having watched the film, I will probably now spend every visit to the stick basket looking for potential stick friends.

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