The gardens that open have very differing features and each one offers something unique. We have outdoor swimming ponds, a minature railway, bees hives, chickens, a seaside garden, a garage with a sedum living roof, old stables, a completely recycled garden, tree houses, gardens with sculptures in (including a ship’s figurehead) and a favourate stop off for visitors – a garden selling indian food! Some gardens simply open to serve refreshments or offer a place of rest for parents with space for kids to run around and play. We also hire a small minibus to drive round the Avenues as a free ‘Hail and ride’ facility for anyone who has mobility problems.
The gardens at the front are small, giving no indication of the large gardens to the rear which can be often 150 feet long. Some have mature trees dating from the Victorian/Edwardian years. Visitors to the area are always surprised by the spaciousness and tranquillity.
The soil is heavy clay but does respond to large quantities of compost and then becomes very productive and easy to work. The plants that seem to do really well in the area are shrubs such as magnolia, camellia and pieris.
The Hull micro-climate is thought by Gardening Which to be comparable to Cornwall, but without the wind and rain.
The Avenues conservation area has a boulevard-like appearance with a rectilinear street pattern, wide grass verges and mature trees which sometimes cover the width of the road to create a tunnel-like effect. The combination of large trees, older buildings and the adjacent park means that we have a good range of wildlife, including owls, bats and woodpeckers.
We’ve had our fair share of illustrious residents: Ian Carmichael, Dorothy L Sayers, Anthony Minghella, Richard and Simon Hoggart and of course Philip Larkin (although none of these were noted as gardeners).