Learning new skills as a budding Beningbrough garden apprentice
My girls are pretty interested in getting out in the garden – it helps having a dad who is more than a little bit green fingered, so we were thrilled that a visit to Beningbrough on Monday meant we had the opportunity to get really hands on in the gorgeous garden there.
We arrived when the hall opened at 10.30am so had a chance to do a bit of the ‘Yorkshire day trail’ looking for flat caps before the session at 11am – we met the gardening team, picked up our official National Trust ‘Apprentice Gardener’ badge with much excitement, plus a cute mini wheelbarrow, fork & kneel pad and set to work.
The Beningbrough gardeners and the team from Yorkshire Gardens Trust guided us through some gardening essentials; we had a session doing weeding of the old forget-me-not border (I was so proud when Edith answered what a weed was “a plant in the wrong place”) The girls loved taking the wheelbarrows to the van & took the opportunity for a wheelbarrow race of course!
We then went on to deadhead some flowers – the staff and volunteers were so lovely and patient with them throughout, taking time to explain things and answer their endless questions. They clearly have a passion for spreading their love of gardening to the next generation.
Finally we went to the other side of the walled garden and had our turn to pick fruit – there was so much to choose from and the girls got a full bounty of raspberries, wine berries (not for making wine sadly but they tasted delish!) and white currents to name a few. In typical style, Meg ate 90% while picking whereas Edith saved them all until the end and had a full punnet! It’s worth telling you that, like all gardens this summer, there were wasps and flies around, Beningbrough have put out traps everywhere so they’re doing all they can about this. Around the fruit it’s unfortunately a hazard of the job! Thankfully the girls didn’t notice at all and there were certainly no stings for us.
The garden apprentice sessions run for an hour at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on Mondays in August. They’re free to join and you can book on the day with the reception team.
After the session we went along to the brilliant adventure playground where the kids played for a good hour before lunch.
Looking ahead to the rest of August; on Tuesdays you can head to the hall and go bug busting with the team. It’s a chance to ask those burning questions, like what’s the biggest bug you’ve found?!
On Wednesdays and Fridays families can join the artrageous workshops. There are different activities on different days, so take a blank canvas and design your perfect garden, build a mini garden shed and use twigs, leaves and bark from the garden to create some wild art.
Whatever day you visit, there is always plenty to entertain. Pick up an explorer backpack from the reception team, there are four available recommended for different age groups; bug hunting and explore the Walled Garden for 3 years and over, bird spotting with binoculars for 4 and over, and finding your way with a compass for 8 and over. There are special sessions on Saturday 10 August when you can learn how to read a compass bearing with a member of the Beningbrough team. Don’t get lost!
Little legs can use one of the bikes, trikes and scooters on hand to explore the eight acres. Then head over to the wilderness play area and climb the pyramid tower or be the best den builder in the family.
On 17 & 18 August, join in the celebrations for the mighty bee with family friendly talks accompanied by an opportunity to learn a little more about the role of a bee keeper, peep into an observation hide, be creative with art and craft activities and sample different types of honey.
All the activities are free and it’s free entry to National Trust members and under-fives, otherwise normal admission charges apply. Find out more here: nationaltrust.org.uk/beningbrough or follow on social media to keep up to date: facebook.com/NTBeningbrough, twitter @NTBeningbrough and instagram @NT_York