Introducing Bide-a-Wee Cottage Gardens, Northumberland
Beautiful Gardens are a Must-See in Northumberland
If you are visiting Northumberland then a visit to the Bide-a-Wee Cottage Gardens are a must for all those that enjoy gardens and imaginative planting. The gardens contain a huge variety of perennials, shrubs, grasses and ferns planted in a formal and informal style .
Praise for Bide-a-Wee is widespread with Gardeners World Magazine calling it 'a very special garden'. It has also featured in TV programmes, magazines, journals (Royal Horticultural Society Journal - vol.120, part 7) and is a regularly recommended attraction by many websites including the English Tourist Board's website which said 'you'll love it'.
Set in the Northumberland countryside the garden is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life for just an hour or two. Enjoy the peace and tranquility while taking in the views of the garden and the surrounding Northumbrian countryside from the many seated vantage points.
Bide-A-Wee Garden has been created out of a small sandstone quarry over the last quarter of a century by Mark Robson. The site was originally bare and exposed apart from rough grass, whin (gorse) and an outer drystone boundary wall. It has taken years of imagination, planning, development, hard work and nurturing to transform this former quarry into a garden oasis.
Natural Diversity creates such a variety of Planting
The transformation from quarry to gardens is respectful of its beginnings which lends the garden a dramatic topography and natural rock amphitheater. This topography (most of the garden is hidden in a disused quarry on the edge of a 160m - 500ft - ridge) means that there are enormous variations in soil, water, exposure and rock within its three acres. Mark Robson, the garden designer, has used this natural diversity to plant a remarkably wide spectrum of plants.
In the wet, shaded quarry bottom, by the ponds, are swathes of primulas, rodgersias, ostrich ferns, sensitive ferns and gunneras. Away from the water, on the north-facing slopes of the quarry and in the shade of trees, are meconopsis, rhododendrons and gentians.
1001 Gardens to See Before You Die
Quite a different type of plant grows on the south-facing slopes: abutilons, agapanthus and eryngiums, for example. Throughout the garden, the natural rock walls are contrasted with hedges and complemented by evergreens - conifers, rhododendrons and grasses.
Then more ephemeral perennials and wildflowers are woven into the design, as are the more unusual plants that are the hallmark of a plantsman. Mark describes his garden as 'bold perennial plantings linked with a network of winding paths and steps, all associated with dramatic changes of level'. These are designed to create views across the garden or down onto lower levels, as well as into the countryside beyond.
To the east, above the quarry, drifts of late-flowering perennials (including lythrum, eupatorium and helianthus) melt into the half-acre wildflower meadow that is also home to the beehives.
Glorious Natural Wildflower Meadow
You can enjoy the half-acre natural wildflower meadow peaking in early Summer. Spot the many types of wild flowers - including yellow rattle buttercups, harebells and fine grasses - growing as nature intended. You may simply just watch the bees from the Bide-A-Wee hives do their work.
Beyond the meadow the garden opens out and blends into the familiar rough landscape of Northumberland with grassland grazed by sheep and new born lambs.
National Collection of Centaurea
Bide-A-Wee Garden is proud to be the holder of the National Collection of Centaurea. Find out more about our Collection of Centaurea
Visit Bide-a-Wee Gardens
The Gardens are open in the afternoons between April and August and you are free to roam and explore this peaceful paradise. Find out more about visiting the Bide-a-Wee including opening times, group visits and directions.