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Thursday, 15 August 2013

Harlow Carr Gardens.

I was off round to Mum's for just after 0900 as we are on away day to see Neal and Sue and then a drive out. I loaded up Mum's car with the wheelchair and off we went. The decision as to where we we would end up going was delayed to assess the likelihood of rain as one was indoor and the other outdoor. After a cup of coffee and chocolate biscuit the die was cast and off we went to Harlow Carr Gardens the Royal Horticultural Society's place near Harrogate. The car park was very busy when we got there but actually it didn't seem too full as it is large enough for everybody to spread out. We had a look through some of the gardens and plots and I was surprised that I knew more of the names of plants than I thought I did. As we headed down into the valley there was Betty's Tea Shop outlet and although we were busy a table were just standing up to leave as we passed and there was a nice spot for the wheelchair too. I was treated to a sandwich and a cup of tea and for pudding a fat rascal. Mind you it wasn't what I would have called a fat rascal as with Mum it was a bit of left over pastry with some currants folded in and a sprinkle of sugar. Betty's Tea Shop Fat Rascals were more what I would call rock buns with candid peel and sultanas in. What ever they were they were very nice indeed, and mine didn't touch the sides!

Sue spotted this photo opportunity in front of a shed with a convenient lady having a picnic nearby to take it.

Neal having to borrow some glasses to read the map at Betty's in the garden.

Going round the gardens through time I saw a hand powered garden sprayer and was attracted by the name, The Four Oaks, and sure enough it was made in Sutton Coldfield by the Four Oaks Spraying Machine Co. Ltd. This company was based on Belwell lane In Mere Green and we knew this area well as it was near where we lived and went to church and scouts there. It was opened in 1895 by a William Ludford. Their sprayers and lime washers became the most sort after in the country until the advent of plastic that really started to take the market in the 1950's. The factory was at the south end of Belwell Lane, near the round about and is where Waitrose's is today. They also owned the properties on the other side of the road. They stayed in business until 1977 when the name was sold to another company and the propertys were sold. The name lived on, but with nothing manufactured, until 1986 until remaining properties were sold and the company rolled up.

Label of For Oaks Sprayer.

Mum has said that she was looking out for a 'London Pride'. None of us new the Latin name but I saw a plant that looked very similar, but with no flowers. It was a huercha. However now I have got home and looked it up it isn't the right thing. The London Pride we were thinking of is a cross of two types of saxifrage. Sue bought the plant for Mum as a Birthday present anyway so I hope it grows well as a reminder of the day.

We left before the rain and got home just after 1700. After a bit more of a gossip and catching up with all the kids and a lovely tea we headed homewards and got Mum back at about 2100. It was a lovely day and thanks very much to Neal and Sue for treating me to the day out. I will repay the favour sometime.

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