I’ve spent too much time online looking at snowdrop gardens – and wishing I had a helicopter to whizz me from Scotland to Cornwall.
They are all so tempting. But work, family commitments and lack of funds mean the grand tour will have to wait.
When a friend told me about a garden that’s practically on my doorstep- Holme Pierrepont Hall, in Nottingham- I hardly had time to grab my coat. I was out of my pottingshed like a rocket.
Walls and a gazebo in the formal East Garden were built in the 17th century.
The south wall was demolished in the Georgian period to create parkland around the side of the house. The East Garden was abandoned after the First World War, and reclaimed in the 1970s.
There are some glorious planting combinations. Silver stems of Rubus Golden Vale stand out against the dark yew background, with snowdrops as groundcover. Everywhere there’s yew and box hedges and topiary.
My favourite view of the house. Dating back to the 1500s, the brickwork is some of the earliest in the county.
There’s some wonderfully gnarled trees in the garden. It’s still very much a family home- as well as a wedding and conference venue. We smiled at the evidence of children everywhere. There were swings in many trees and a home made zip wire in the woods.
We followed direction arrows through the walled gardens and found these old espalier fruit trees. I love the way they refuse to die. Each one sports a single vigorous branch.
I can spend any amount of time admiring old garden walls. We mulled over the different courses of bricks. Layers of history with a tale to tell.
The arrows took us to a recently cleared wood. I decided that following a snowdrop-edged woodland path makes me very happy indeed.
I took about 100 photos in the wood. It has such a peaceful atmosphere. Almost like a secret garden.
We followed the arrows back to the house and wandered through this doorway, which leads to a pretty enclosed walled courtyard. We bought tickets for a tour around the house which meant we could look through the windows down onto the parterre. Photos can’t be taken in the house, which is understandable. It is a family home, after all. But I asked permission to take photos through the windows, which was allowed.
Looking down on the box parterre which is filled with lavender, pulmonaria and spring bulbs. The boundary wall of the garden, and the house wall have a sort of unusual covered cloister walkway which contained potted camellia plants.
There’s a good view of the church from the first floor windows.
This stonework being used as a bench looks like it came from the top of a Roman pillar. I wonder…..
We had another walk round the East Garden before heading for home. This Prunus mume Beni-chidori was looking spectacular underplanted with snowdrops. The scent, reminiscent of fruit salad, wafts around the whole garden. Quite strong for such a tiny flower.
Holme Pierrepont Hall is open Sunday, Monday and Tuesdays in February and March 2-5pm. Also Sundays in April -apart from Easter Sunday. There’s a special Shakespeare in the Garden performance on Thursday 15th June.
I’m glad I’ve found Holme Pierrepont Hall -especially as it’s only 25 minutes drive from home. It makes me wonder how many other places are right on my doorstep, just waiting to be discovered. Perhaps I don’t need that helicopter after all.
Have you “found” any gardens right on your doorstep?
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