GARDENERS’ GROUP: For their April meeting, Wharfedale Gardeners were treated to an inspiring illustrated lecture on the Making of the Gardens of Littlethorpe Manor at Ripon, by Eddie Harland. For the past 12 years Eddie has been head gardener for the property that was bought by Mr and Mrs Thackray in 1985. Eddie and his wife, Michelle, have been responsible for the complete renovation of the gardens, which date back to the mid-1700s. The first phase was to make a composting yard, followed by car parking. Then in 1999 they embarked upon the renovation of the walled garden, making it a garden of the seasons. The second project was the sunken garden with its parterre and rose arches. They went on to develop a pergola, a new terrace, a pond on the lawn and then a lake with a pavilion, and many other features. This winter box blight severely affected the hedges in the sunken garden and they had to be replaced with another type of hedging. The amount of work involved in the renovation left us all exhausted, especially when we were told that Eddie, Michelle and one other look after the whole garden - and they still have time to give lectures! The next meeting is on Tuesday, May 13, when the annual plant auction will be held at 7.30pm at Otley Methodist Church. Members bring their surplus plants, from the sought-after to the “good-doers”, and these are auctioned off. Guests are welcome.

CHRISTIANS AGAINST POVERTY: Wharfedale residents are again being offered professional help to manage their finances by debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty. The organisation has trained four members of The Bridge Christian Fellowship, All Saints Church and Christchurch in Ilkley to run a three-week money management course. The sessions teach budgeting skills and a simple cash based money management system that really works, as well as overall advice on how to live within your means and save for future expenses. Church member and CAP money coach, Joan Haines said: “We have had gap year students and older people on the course and all have connected with it. That shows the quality of the course we are teaching. We want to help people to gain more control over their finances so that they can budget, spend, save and prevent debt.” The next course takes place at The Sanctuary, 6 Church Street, Ilkley, LS29 9DS, next to All Saints Parish Church from 7.30pm to 9.30pm on Friday, May 2. The next two sessions take place at the same times on the next two Fridays. To find out more, phone Jeff McQuillan on 07811 107607.

DECORATIVE AND FINE ARTS SOCIETY: The next meeting of SWADFAS will be held on Thursday, May 8, at 7pm, with coffee before the lecture begins at 7.30pm. The speaker is to be Philippa Barton on Thomas Chippendale and his contemporaries. The meeting will be held in the Skipton Town Hall, non-members welcome.