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

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

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

A Georgian Christmas

Wed 20 Dec 2017
10:30-16:00
Join us this festive season and explore a traditional Georgian Christmas at Quarry Bank. Enjoy the sophisticated celebrations of the mill owning Gregs, and experience the humble festivities of the apprentices.

Christmas in the gardens

Wed 20 Dec 2017
10:30-16:00
For the first time, the Quarry Bank gardens will be open across the winter season with festive planting and Christmas activities.

Explore the Outdoors

Wed 24 Jan 2018
10:30-16:00
Head outside and discover all the wonderful wildlife and amazing family adventures you can have in the gardens and woodland at Quarry Bank.

Lost Voices

Sat 03 Mar 2018
10:30-16:00
Lost Voices explores the experiences of women whose stories were not heard, and which are often lost to us today because of their age, status or means. Installations across Quarry Bank will bring their voices to life.