Yewbarrow House and Gardens

We had a lovely sunny day for our visit to Yewbarrow House and Gardens on 19th May.

Yewbarrow House 3Set in the seaside area of Grange-over-sands in Cumbria, these stunning coastal gardens have expansive views across the estuary. They enjoy a micro climate more similar to that of Torquay in Cornwall than to its northern neighbours. Indeed, it is said to benefit from more hours of winter sunshine than Cornwall.Yewbarrow House gardenmap

Started in 1999 by Jonathan Denby, who is said to have been inspired by renowned garden writers such as Shirley Hibberd, the gardens are set out in nine separate parts each designed to take into account the lie of the land, making the most of the free draining soil and emphasising the magnificent views.

We toured the first of these gardens to be developed, the Sunken garden, which has grown up around a
palm tree planted in the centre of the lawn. The Italian garden is filled with large exotic Yewbarrow House 1plants which we might not expect to find or be thriving on the coast of Cumbria. The Japanese garden displayed a circular pool as a centre-piece which has an infinity edge overlooking Morecambe Bay. We also took in the Palm House and the Maple Walk as we enjoyed the sunshine and gentle breeze from the estuary.Yewbarrow House 2

We enjoyed a cream tea on the Tea Lawn whilst we learned that work on the gardens have been ongoing for the last 20 years and is now preparing for the official opening for the NGS scheme.

On our return journey we called at Beetham Nurseries and Garden Centre. All enjoyed the day albeit a bit sun burnt!

For details of the Thornton Cleveleys Horticultural Society trips and garden talks, please see

Artistic Planters with Attitude

This months gardening talk on 16th May was the first in our new venue at Christ Church, Thornton. We were made very welcome and enjoyed the bright space for our meeting.

Tim Smith - planter demonstrationTim Smith of Lythan St Annes, a regular on the talk circuit, gave us a demonstration which he entitled ARTISTIC PLANTERS WITH ATTITUDE. He talked about colour combinations and planting design, as well as suitable plants for the containers he was demonstrating.

John Horrocks Bowl Planters

Our Chairperson, John Horrocks followed Tim’s talk with a practical demonstration of making a bowl garden. Using a selection alpines and succulents, he put together small bowls and talked through soil types and drainage solutions.

Our next gardening talk is Wednesday 20th June 2018 at the usual time 7.30pm. Marguerite Hughes from Bretherton is talking to us about SCENTED PLANTS FOR ALL SEASONS

Marguerite Hughes is a well known Lancastrian horticulturist, broadcaster & experienced garden speaker. There will also be plants for sale by Sue Gillon from Meadow View Plants.

There are no gardening talks during July and August as you will all be too busy enjoying your garden! Gardening talks will recommence in September, keep an eye on this page for details as we get them.

TCHS at Bank House

Recently, Mr Horrocks, Chairperson, and Mrs Brocklebank, Committee member, visited the Bank House Nursing Home and helped residents to make bowl gardens for their rooms. Most of the residents are wheelchair-bound which makes it difficult for them to tend plants at ground level, the bowls provide small gardens which the residents can care for relatively easily.

The Society members were also asked to donate any plants they were splitting to go in the long border at the nursing home. As always, members were generous and we managed to plant the whole 60 foot border albeit in pouring rain, and add a bird bath. There were enough plant donations to add some to the garden at the back of the house too. I think you will agree, it has and will continue to brighten the border along this shady side of the house.

Alpines for Sinks, Troughs and Raised Beds

Our gardening talk this month was given by Peter Foley of Waddow Lodge Garden whoPeter Foley eloquently engaged his audience with his knowledge of Alpines.

Peter is of Holden Clough Nursery fame which is currently run by his son John. Established in 1927 by Richard Milne-Redhead, Holden Clough Nursery became one of the country’s leading Alpine nurseries. Based in the Ribble Valley, the nursery has won awards at RHS Tatton and at Southport Flower Show. Waddow Lodge Garden

Peter talked about the best plants for troughs and planters using slides to demonstrate how they can be used. A keen audience asked a number of questions, the answers to which Peter was happy to give. He also brought along a number of plants for sale so we could indulge in alpines for our own planters. alpines

 The evening also saw a presentation to the staff and Friends of the Little Theatre for all their help over the years. This of course was our last event at the Theatre after almost 70 years of use.

All future talks will be in the nearby hall at Christ Church, on Meadows Avenue, Thornton. We’d love to see members and non-members at any of our talks.

Also this month, members were disappointed when the trip to Gordon Riggs had to be cancelled on the day. We had no coach to take us, due to a misunderstanding at the coach company. This was disheartening as the garden centre is a gold mine for gardeners and across the way there is the Fancy Goods Emporium and Cafe. Ah well maybe another time!

For details of other talks and trips, please see the events pages on our website.

TCHS History 1980s

In June of 1980,the Society entered the Thornton Cleveleys Gala with a float advertising the enjoyment of gardening. Mr G R Powney and Mr R Sale were dressed as Bill & Ben, a children’s television program for the very young. Using plastic sheets donated by ICI, where most people at the time worked, the two men were clothed in plastic costumes and stood in plant huge pots. The pair had restricted movement in their outfits and had great fun feeding each other.  They were nicknamed “Bill and Ben the Trade Hut Men”

TCHS Gala float - Bill and Ben the Trade Hut Men -1980
Gala float in 1980 – Bill and Ben the Trade Hut Men

In December 1980, Mr J D Horrocks was elected Chairman. The local Fuchsia Society was formed in 1981. Membership subs were Patron £2, Member 70p and Senior 40p. A new show schedule cover was designed by Miss Wheatley. The Gala float this year had all garden gear, compost, planters shrubs etc. Sweets were given to the children as the procession wound its way around Thornton and Cleveleys.

TCHS gala float 1982
TCHS gala float 1981. Mr H R Horrocks right with vehicle owner Mr C Windle behind.

1982 A new schedule cover was unveiled, this time drawn by Mrs Norma Wheatley (Show programme 1982)

TCHS Show programme August 1982
TCHS Flower Show schedule cover designed by Norma Wheatley in 1982

In 1982, Life Membership was bestowed on Mr John Wilson. In October, a raffle plant was found to be dead or dying; it was returned and replaced. This year, Society diaries went on sale at 50p each. The Illawalla night club approached the committee with regard to holding the 1983 show in their hall. The Chairman and Show Manager visited the venue and declined the offer, it being too small. Fleetwood Garden Society came on the scene, our two Societies working closely together. Mrs Thatcher was re-elected for a second time. In 1984, the cost of hiring Millfield School was £260.55. A new style of AGM was introduced including social evening. Shell announced in May that petrol would go up 3p to £1.87 per gallon. On April 9th, planning permission was granted to put show posters on lamp posts; they were to go up no sooner than 7 days before and be taken down the day after the show.

In 1985, Wyre Borough Leisure attempted to run their own show, “Wyre Show”, and had 39 classes. The committee noted that it did seem that most of the classes were copied from our show schedule at the time. Wyre Borough Mayor, when presenting a trophy, managed to drop it, causing quite a bit of damage. 1986 The Society purchased a large projection screen to help speakers at the lectures. November 26th, the committee commented that the society was at war with the Council; posters had been placed on community notice boards only for a workman to remove them. Stalwarts quickly re-pasted and replaced new ones. Trade stands were tried at the shows for 1986/87, sited in the school play area by the hall. The schedule cover design changed again, this time drawn by Mr Alan Cross.

TCHS Show Schedule 1986
TCHS 1986 Show Schedule cover drawn by Mr Alan Cross

In April 1987 we were given notice to vacate our wooden Trade Hut. September saw Mr John Wilson celebrating his 25 years on the committee with a dinner at the Ashdell Restaurant. In June, talks got underway to find a new site for our Trade Hut. Members were asked to grow plants for a ‘Plant Sale’ which was a great success.

Chairman, Mr J D Horrocks, drew plans and submitted them for planning approval in 1987. It was granted and approval given to locate the hut just off the main Blackpool to Fleetwood Road, a site behind the bus stop for Blackpool.

TCHS Committee in 1986
AGM 1988 Photo, (L to R) Front row: Mrs Hilda Berry, Mrs Dorothy Horrocks, President Mr Fred Porter, Mrs Anne Howarth, Mrs Carol Maulkinson (kneeling) Mrs Anne Guy, Mr Les Foden, Mrs Lillian Damerall. Second row: Mr John Wilson, Mr E.J.Munton, Mrs Molly Kirk, Mrs Barbara Taylor, Mrs Gillian Redman, Mr Les Foden, Mr Roy Powney, Mr Hugh Horrocks. Back row: Mr Paul Redman, Mr Jim Grice, Mr Terry Wright, Mr John Horrocks, Miss Janet Stirrup, Mr Bob Maulkinson.

The photo above was taken at the 1988 AGM and shows the committee at the time. It had become practice at the AGM was for committee members to bring refreshments for all to enjoy. This year sporting a lovely cake.

1988 The Chairman Mr J Horrocks, drew and submitted plans which were passed by the Wyre Borough Council before work could start. Making way for our new Trading Store, pictured below are Mr G.R.Powney and Mr J. Wilson.

TCHS site of the new trade hut 1988
TCHS site of the new trade hut 1988 – pictured are Mr G R Powney and Mr J Wilson

Where MR Wilson’s car is parked, there was a huge 10+ ton of road scrapings, left by the road maintenance team. The Council inferred that we would have to move it to use the area for parking. Mr Wilson, while clearing the area tossed amounts of cat poo onto the pile. The workers in the building behind, complained about the smell from the pumping station (right of picture) and thought there was a body decomposing. Sniffer dogs were brought in and of course they picked up on the cat poo. The next day the Council sent a digger and removed the pile of road scrapping.

The map below shows the first produce hut at Marsh Mill; the first official Trade Hut and the siting of the New Trade Hut. The map also shows the Little Theatre (Lecture Hall) and Wignall Methodists Church, now Thornton Methodists; the sites of the early two centre shows. On the right is a copy of the approved plan drawn by Mr J Horrocks.

In 1988, the base was laid for the siting of two garages, one single and one double, for our new Trade Hut. Show time in August saw rain pouring through the roof of Millfield School hall; there were buckets on the show benches and water everywhere.

Celebrity gardener Fred Downham, came to talk to us, but the Lecture Hall remained locked; the caretaker had forgotten that we were booked into the room – very embarrassing!  Our Trading Hut was officially opened by President Mr Fred Porter, in February 1989, after a lot of hard work by all concerned.

Top left, President Mr Fred Porter. Top right, Mr John Wilson getting to grip with a cash register Bottom left, (L to R) Mr L Berry, Mr F Nelson, Mrs L M Damerall & Mrs H Berry. Bottom right, Mr & Mrs M Taylor with grandchildren at the opening day.

The metal roof on the Trade Hut, which replaced the traditional corrugated panels came in 21 feet lengths, they were heavy but the team of volunteers managed to put them in place. It did cause some problems with dripping water but ever resourceful, some insulating sheets, provided by Mr P Muncey, were affixed and the cracks were filled with expanding foam. Volunteers were covered with the expanding green foam, much to everyone’s amusement but it successfully stopped the leaks.

In 1989, ‘CATS’ opened at the Opera House in Blackpool in May, Gerry Marsden had a number one hit with “Ferry across the Mersey” and pledged proceeds going to the Hillsborough Disaster Fund.

TCHS History 1970’s

The new idea for 1970 was Gift classes. It was a class where exhibitors gifted their entries for us to sell, the Society in turn paid big prize money. Unfortunately, some exhibitors were taking their entries home, so the class was dropped for next show.

In December 1971, Mrs M Stirrup joined the committee, as press officer, along with her daughter Miss J J Stirrup. The annual show made a loss £128 in this year.

The Society loaned their tables to the Cactus Society for their 1972 show at cost of £2 each. Posters pasted to cardboard were put on lamp posts but bad weather destroyed them. The Parks Department had a display at entrance to the show. The Floral Art section were unhappy and wanted a different position in the show.

In 1973, Deputy Mayor Cllr Tom Croft and his wife presented the show prizes. On 25th November 1974, Mr H R Horrocks was nominated for the committee. Thornton Cleveleys Secondary School became Millfield Secondary.

In 1975, Class 200 Men Only was replaced by Painted Pottery.  In January 1976, Mr J D Horrocks was co-opted onto the committee. A serious outbreak of Foot and Mouth swept the country. Planning permission was granted to the committee to place 20 posters on lamp posts.

Mr J D Horrocks proposed getting sponsors for the 1977 show; they would pay the prize money on specific classes in return for their business name being placed on the show table. It was agreed and the first sponsors were Tycos Tool & Die, Grundy’s Ironmongers of Cleveleys, Burnside Garden Centre, Westlands Florists, Robinsons of Thornton and The Thornton Cleveleys Flower Arrangement Club. There were 25 sponsored classes this first year. The trophies now numbered 29 plus numerous certificates and medals from National Societies. The Parks Department wanted £60 to deliver plants for the display at the entrance this year so Peter Smith from the Fuchsia Society put on a Fuchsia display instead, for free. 1977 was also the year we introduced a tombola stall to raise funds.


TCHS-Flower Show in school hall
TCHS Flower Show in the Hall at Millfield Secondary School

The drought in the summer of 1978 affected all gardeners and farmers alike, this was follow by the Great Storm of 78. The year saw the first artistically decorated show schedule cover which was drawn by Mr A Cross.

TCHS-Show programme 1978
TCHS Flower Show programme for August 1978, hand-drawn design by Mr A Cross

In 1979, Prescription charges went up this year to 45p and we received the Marsden Building Society Trophy.

Marsden Building Society Trophy being presented to Chairman John Horrocks by Marsden representative John Simpson. L to R. John Horrocks, Secretary Lillian Damerall, Treasurer Miss Mable Bridge and Committee members Peter Smith (Fylde Fuchsia Society). Photo taken by the Blackpool Gazette