National Trust defies autumn colour with biggest ever green garden festival

A series of events at National Trust properties this autumn will take on a green hue as around 20 gardens across the UK will host activities with a green theme.

Supported by Clydesdale Banks, the events will offer greener gardening techniques, ideas and advice and family fun.

National Trust head of gardens and parks Mike Calnan said:

"There’s no better place to start making a difference to the environment than in our own gardens.  

"Many people are interested in how they can produce healthy plants without chemicals, how they can minimise the use of water in their garden; make their own compost, grow their own food and get children involved. We hope that this is the start of an exciting new event in the gardening calendar.

"Many of our gardens are at the forefront of using and developing greener gardening techniques, adopting the best from the past with the very latest technologies available. This is a great opportunity to share what we’re doing with our visitors."

The events include :

Big Green Festival, to be held at Beningbrough Hall & Gardens, near York on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 September. Entry is free. 

Features will include: displays including bicycle power generation and water harvesting; how to make the perfect compost and green gardening demonstrations.

More event information on:  or email  01904 472027

 Green Gardening and Living Fair -  at Nymans, Sussex, Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 October

Will feature the recipe for perfect compost, how a wormery works, how to save water in the garden and learn how Nymans’ gardeners have been training plants to be drought resistant.

Further information on: 01444 405250 or email

Greener Gardening Weekend - Peckover, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3 October, 12 noon to 5pm.

 Discover how the biological controls for pests in the glass houses work, how gardeners manage rose disease organically, a project using green manures and the benefits of having a bee hive.

The Peckover family were Quakers with a deep interest in the natural world and the tradition is kept alive with regular seed scavenging days and cuttings workshops in the Propagation House. 

Contact the property for dates and details: 01945 583463

Greener Gardening Weekend -Stourhead, Warminster, Wiltshire, 2-3 October

Includes part of Stourhead's walled gardens not normally open to the public.

There will be ‘have a go’ areas where you can try your hand at mulching, weeding and composting.  Find out about Stourhead’s bug boxes and peat free gardening and why and how these are successful.  Discover more about the great underground water system which starts off on the roof of the house and ends up in a dipping pond.

Children can create scarecrows and give them names and make their own flowers out of recyclable materials.  Visitors can contribute their own green pledges and ideas which will be incorporated into the garden’s green interpretation area.   After your visit take home a special green garden guide, produced by Stourhead’s gardeners.  

Further information on:  01747 841152.

Greener Gardening Weekend, East Riddlesden Hall, Keighley, West Yorkshire, 2- 3 October

Step back in time to discover how gardening was done in the past without the use of chemicals and pesticides using plants to make concoctions to kill insects, manure to create heat to grow melons and fertiliser mixes made with plentiful supplies of pigeon pooh.   Visitors can meet James Barlow a fictional gardener who would have lived and worked in the 17th century.  Using authentic replicas of gardening tools and wearing clothing of the period, James will demonstrate how gardening was done four centuries ago.

Sunday’s focus will be on native wildlife conservation with the opportunity to work with ceramic artist, Sally Danys, to make flowers, insects and mini-beasts that will be fired and glazed to form a mural for the garden.  Thoughts on the subject will be written into clay and form part of the mural display which will become a resource for school children and a focal point for visitors to the garden. Workshops are free and last for 30 mins, from 11.00am to 4.30pm.

For more information, contact: 01535 607075.

Greener Gardening Behind the Scenes - Overbeck’s, Salcombe, 2 - 3 October, 2pm to 4pm

Discover more about this exotic seven acre organic garden set in a spectacular location overlooking the Salcombe estuary.  There are monthly events with a greener gardening theme and for this final one, you can find out more about parts of the garden that are usually closed to visitors, including the compost areas and the greenhouse.  Spend time with the gardeners walking around the garden and talking to them about their organic approach to composting, soil amelioration, pest and disease control and propagation.  Take home some professional advice on making your own compost and gardening organically.

Further information on:  01548 842893

Apple Day with a Green Twist - Morden Hall Park, Morden, London, 3 October

Enjoy this annual event run in partnership with the local beekeeping association.  As well as promoting growing and eating local and season fruit and the importance of bees to our food production, there will be a fun session on green gardening and growing your own food. Designed for all the family, pick up great tips and take home practical information to make your own garden more green.

For more information contact:  020 8545 6850

Apple and Greener Gardening Weekend - Cotehele, Saltash, Cornwall,  2- 3 October

Enjoy apple juice, pony powered cider making and find out more about Cotehele’s Bee Keeping Project.  There’s something for all the family with children’s trails, tours and Cotehele’s amazing composting machine, the Rocket composter which recycles all the kitchen waste.  See hydro power in action at the flour mill and watch the solar ‘Robo’ mower busy cutting grass in the Mother Orchard – the very best of renewable energy on show to inspire you.

Further information on: 01579 351346 

Putting the (Green) Garden to Bed - Wightwick Manor and Gardens, Wolverhampton, 2 October

Enjoy a series of ‘how to’ tours of behind-the-scenes areas of the garden and find out more about manure crops, seed collection, hardwood cuttings, storage of half-hardy plants and composting, with lots of information and give-aways to inspire visitors.  If you live locally, why not leave the car behind and walk to Wightwick, lowering your carbon footprint and keeping fit in the spirit of the day’s theme.

Further information on : 01902 761400

Autumn and Greener Gardening Fair - Mount Stewart, County Down, 9 - 10 October

A day of celebration and events all linked to discovering more about this ‘sustainable estate’ and part of the Food Glorious Food event. Take tours of the new nursery facilities to look at water harvesting, find out how peat free plants are grown successfully for plant sales, get advice on composting and see the new biomass boiler in action and the sewage filtration bed area. Workshops for children will show them how to plant seeds and create their own miniature garden. There will also be tours of the sea plantation to explain why climate change is an issue for the future of the garden and how the Trust is preparing for this.  

Further information on: 028 4278 8387

Grow with Stowe
- Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckingham, 10 October

An opportunity to tune in with nature and help to plant native spring bulbs to create a spring walk in the garden. There will also be a chance to see the latest in GPS technology in action, which is helping the Trust to record all the plants in its gardens, and watch the location of the bulbs you plant recorded.

Compost with Stowe -  24 October

 Everything you could ever want to know about compost and how it’s used in the beautiful landscape garden at Stowe.  Find out why, how and when to compost and the huge environmental benefits to be had from making your own.  There will be gardeners’ Q & A’s on composting and recycling and information to take home to get you started in your own garden.

Further information on: 01280 822850

Green Gardening Events - South Somerset gardens, Barrington Court, Lytes Cary, Montacute and Tintinhull, during October

Guided tours, workshops, demonstrations and events at all four properties – over the weekend 2nd & 3rd October (not Barrington, date tbc) all designed to promote green gardening practices, show case what’s happening in the gardens and inspire and inform visitors with ideas for their own gardens.

Find out about organic gardening techniques, ways of reducing energy use in the garden and growing your own food. 

For more information contact 01935 823289

Greener Gardening Day, A La Ronde, Exmouth, Devon, 27 October, 11.00 am to 4.00 pm

 Come along and help to build a habitat palace for insects in the orchard and discover how beneficial wildlife are being encouraged to set up home in the garden and how they help to reduce pest populations.

Find out more about how the garden ecosystem works and enjoy a children’s craft workshop where you can paint mini wooden bird feeders and make lacewing homes.

Further information on: 01395 265514

Green garden tours and demonstrations, Nunnington Hall, near York, 23-31 October

Join organic garden tours with tips and advice on everything from water harvesting, to organic pest and disease control to making compost teas to use as a fungicide and plant tonic.  Find out about wormeries and water harvesting and Bokashi  (the word means fermentation in Japanese) bins, which allow you to turn all your kitchen waste into nutrient rich compost. 

There will be tours of the orchard and apple juicing and tasting too.

Further information on: 01439 748283

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