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Please check with garden owners or their website to confirm current dates open Sats, Suns 7,8,14,15 June (1-5). for NGS Or by appointment.
Groups by appointment especially in May, June and July
Sats, Suns 7,8,14,15 June 1 - 5pm £4:
May and June
NGS Adults £4; Children free.
Refreshments at Art and Garden, otherwise by prior arrangement. Partial access for the disabled. Disabled information plus mobility and walking aids, contact us via email. Parking for disabled at Mill Barn.
Chris can provide B&B, this is advertised on NGS website and the Hardy Plant Society website.
The Bokara Indian resturant on the A59 is one of the very best Indian Resturants anywhere. (No alcohol)
The Nabs Head, Samlesbury. The New Hall Tavern, Samlesbury.
North Lancashire and the Ribble Valley offer great possibilities.
Mill Barn nestles in the valley of the River Darwen whose waters flow over a series of falls along the length of the garden. Indeed, the river is a focus of the design. Owner and dedicated gardener, Chris Mortimer, was inspired to create a garden incorporating the remains of mills that previously lined the river bank.
A view of the garden from a deck high above the river bank tempts visitors down to the remains of an old weir planted with saxifrages and other alpine plants. Behind this is a tunnel, off which is a grotto, the Temple to Alchemy. It leads to a suspension bridge across the river and above this on the cliffs a dark tower draws the adventurous visitor upwards to view the garden from above.
The less adventurous can continue from the foot of the bridge through a pergola, past a copper Triffid (Triffidia Cuprosa) to reach a pond and the summer house. Behind this a new path, the 'Hyperspace Bypass' leads up through a quarry pit to the upper garden of shrubs and trees and then up further still to an orchard and vegetables.
Additionally, Susan Childs, a neighbour of Mr Mortimer, has created an extensive garden of shrubs and perennials, Primrose Bank, on the adjacent hillside. This may be open for an additional small charge on NGS opening afternoons and provides an interesting foil to Mill Barn's six-foot cooper triffid and Temple of Alchemy - a humorous reference to the owner's scientific profession! The juxta-positioning of such features is also indicative of the diversity of this garden as a whole and the imagination and determination of its creator.
Dr Chris Mortimer bought a very different property in 1972 from what is now Mill Barn. The house was a derelict stables and the land littered with tin sheds, old cars and cinders dumped by the paper mill that had stood across the way.
After years of hard labour, in which all attention was focussed upon the garden, Chris was in a position to look about for plants that could survive the often cold conditions of his valley floor home. Lighting upon hardy perennials, he created the garden as it now stands, extending it in 1981 to include an overlooking hillside and then again in 2004 to include an area of additional river bank, woodland and meadow.