Barhaugh Hall’s Green Fingers

We are making a big push this year at Barhaugh Hall to make the centre a little wilder and a touch more colourful. The Green Team (Amy, Bob, Gemma and Murray) have been exploring ways we can increase the number of wild plants growing around centre with a view to improving our outdoor presentation, opportunities for educating children and adding to the magical experience of being on a residential in England’s Last Wilderness (the North Pennines).

We have planted everything from Hops to Strawberry Spinach, Wonderberries to Garlic Daffodils and Quamash to Borrage. We looked for unusual plants that were colourful, easy to maintain, interesting to children and likely to spread themselves around our large site.

Some of the seeds and bulbs are in the ground already, some are germinating in our potting shed. Some will be popping their heads out in weeks, some in two year’s time… This year we want to establish a few pockets of growth – it’s a harsh climate up here so we’ve been careful about what we put where and when. There are over 30 mini-beds on the site at the moment, where we have lifted the turf and sown wildflower mixes and some of the other peculiar plants. The theory is that these will grow where they are this year and spread in the years to come.

We’ve been getting some trees in too – some for coppicing, some to grow fruit (apples, cherries, pears…) and some hedges too. These will help us to emphasise boundaries, build habitats for animals and also provide staff with wild food!

This is a slow and difficult project but we are sure that over time it will increase the beauty and diversity of our outdoor space.