Exotic Guests and Alien Invaders at Quarry Bank

The main bed of the Quarry Bank garden

Quarry Bank is a place with dramatic natural features and a stunning garden and estate. However, where cultivated exotic guests in the gardens create a beautiful landscape; other unwelcome flora and fauna are seen as invaders taking over our ’native’ gardens, woodlands and river. This exhibition, running from 24 September - 20 November 2016, explores how Quarry Bank manages this contradiction. Why is a rhododendron inside the garden a cherished specimen whereas outside the fence it can be an invasive pest?

Many of the plants that we admire have travelled round the world to be here. These exotic guests, brought in by plant collectors to enhance and brighten our gardens, have taken root in our hearts and are inextricably entwined with our perception of the natural world.  

In some cases however, these exotic guests have characteristics which have allowed them to flourish in a way which was not anticipated, and they have spread into the wild, outcompeting other plants and becoming invasive.

This Giant Hogweed artwork will feature alongside new commissions from artists Nick Jordan and Jacob Cartwright
Colour drawing of Giant Hogweed
This Giant Hogweed artwork will feature alongside new commissions from artists Nick Jordan and Jacob Cartwright

In this exhibition, find our more about the plants and animals which are considered invasive and what the National Trust does to manage them within our landscapes. Then take another view through the words and art of Nick Jordan and Jacob Cartwright, authors of of Alien Invaders: A Guide to Non-Native Species of the Britishe Isles Volume 1. This publication, a cross pollination of fact and fiction, takes the form of an illustrated natural guide and is a thought provoking look at the language and rhetoric used about these plants.

This sketch by Nick Jordan and Jacob Cartwright will be on display along with other artwork
An envelope sketch showing a child dwarfed by Giant Hogweed
This sketch by Nick Jordan and Jacob Cartwright will be on display along with other artwork

Alongside the artwork will be a rogues gallery of invasives, a ranger's desk where you can explore this subject in more depth and information about the parasites which can invade humans.

We are also excited to have the opportunity to showcase 'The Rising' a contemporary art film by Nick Jordan. You can watch the trailer for 'The Rising' below. 

" The Rising is a short film which depicts an invasive alien species, Giant Hogweed, as it rapidly colonizes a lowland riverbank in northern England. Part natural history, part sci-fi, The Rising features an atmospheric soundtrack score by Lord Mongo, and presents the alien interloper as both a dangerous, toxic menace and impressive, natural wonder."
- Visual artist and film maker Nick Jordan


Upcoming events

Have-a-go: Nature Explorers

Sat 24 Nov 2018
13:00-15:00
Every month you can have a go at a wild outdoor activity at Quarry Bank. From pond-dipping to wild art, there's always a new adventure to enjoy.

Baby and Toddler meet Father Christmas

Fri 30 Nov 2018
10:30-11:00
Join us for a special Christmas baby and toddler storytelling and play session which includes a private family visit to Father Christmas and a gift just for your little one. Normal admission charges apply.

Once Upon a Winter's Day

Fri 30 Nov 2018
10:30-17:00
Get lost in traditional stories at Quarry Bank this Christmas. Explore the mill, gardens and houses to re-discover festive classics such as A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker and The Snow Queen.

Meet Father Christmas at Quarry Bank

Sat 01 Dec 2018
10:30-11:00
Wish lists at the ready! Join in with a special half-hour session of festive activities, including a private family visit to Father Christmas and a gift. Admission charges apply.