This year Birkheads Secret Gardens will have been opening its gates to visitors for 20 years and they’re celebrating with a new coffee shop, a Silver Award from the Green Business Tourism Scheme, and joining in Passionate About Gardens. Lots of work has been done to improve access and special events are held throughout the summer.
This 3 acre country garden is set on the edge of the Great North Forest overlooking Hedley Hall Woods on the border of Gateshead, with stunning rural views in all directions across County Durham.
The nursery and coffeee shop are in the old walled garden with paths leading to further secret gardens each with its own distinctive character.
Since 1978 the owners, Christine and Michael Liddle, have been creating the gardens from grassland to include a Wellbeing Garden with organically grown vegetables and herbs, mixed borders of trees, shrubs and perennials, a Slate Garden planned with scented plants to attract bees and butterflies, the Meditation Garden, where visitors can watch swallows and dragonfllies dipping over the pond, and the Willow Dome where small visitors love the fairies and taller visitors use it as a hide for taking photographs of the many birds in the garden.
The adjoining nursery sells plants propagated in the gardens with friendly staff on hand for advice.
The pantiled coffee shop offers a selection of tasty treats and excellent coffee. It overlooks the Topiary Garden where you can take tea under the 120-year old grapevine in the conservatory, or on the terrace while watching the birds.
Thanks to Living North Magazine: Good Gardens Guide (www.livingnorth.com)