World of Gardeners

I am sure it won’t just be me, but does anyone else suspect that Adam Frost and his new Lincolnshire garden will become the focus of Gardeners’ World in the near future? With Adam’s increasing presence on the programme and its spin-offs and his purchase of a country property with a large garden to plan and develop, my suspicions were aroused and a visit to Barnsdale today, the garden of previous presenter Geoff Hamilton from where the programme was often based until his untimely death in 1996, confirmed it in my own mind as both Alan Titchmarsh and Monty Don have presented it from their own gardens over the years. We shall see, but of course I could be wrong!

Barnsdale is probably my most visited garden, partly because it is relatively local – about and hour and a quarter’s easy rural driving – and also because of its scale, being subdivided into ’38 gardens’, many created by Geoff for the programme to show what can be done by the average gardener with a small garden. These days you can buy planting plans of most of the gardens from the shop and many of his schemes were included in his books such as ‘Geoff Hamilton’s Cottage Gardens’ and ‘Geoff Hamilton’s Paradise Gardens’ to inspire gardeners to recreate them in part or entirety. I especially enjoy the do-it-yourself ethos that runs through much of the garden – and this is where the design for our obelisks came from:

obelisksAs the Golfer has just said on seeing this photograph, his do look better, but possibly only because Barnsdale’s need a fresh coat of paint!

It is three years since my last visit to Barnsdale but I have not yet tired of revisiting and there will always be new inspiration. I learned today that these huge zinnias were Zinnia ‘Dahlia Flowered’ and that they were sown in mid April and not pinched out as they can sulk at the slightest disturbance:

img_8169and what the name of this frilly dahlia, rather bizarrely bought as an end of season bargain corm from Wilkinsons, was:

dahliaI have also come up with a couple of new schemes to enhance our own garden, nothing major though, ‘just’ a small project and a different planting idea. They will be noted down in my notebook of things to do before our NGS opening and crossed out at some stage before then! I should carry this book with me at all times as thoughts or inspiration can pop into my head at any time and I am not yet in the habit of writing them down straight away.

We nearly missed the replanted Winter Garden, completed to mark the 20 years since Geoff died; it was pleasing to see that much of this was planted with donated plants, all labelled with the donor as well as the species. In front of the border was this intriguing rustic table and chairs, surrounded with by an arc of varied heuchera:


Elsewhere I enjoyed revisiting the more familiar parts of the garden, some shown here:

img_8151img_8164img_8172img_8155img_8176img_8178img_8161It was a baking hot day, with temperatures reaching the 80s by the time we left after lunch, but not without visiting the plant nursery as the Golfer (with no prompting whatsoever from me, I can assure you) said he wanted to buy me a plant or plants as a present, this being our 20th wedding anniversary – presents were excluded from my embargo but I still was very restrained, having learned from more than eight months of abstemiousness, and came away with just a new sedum, a salvia and a grass at approximately £1 for each year we have been together!


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30 Responses to World of Gardeners

  1. johnvic8 says:

    Thanks for opening the window of my eye to another garden.

  2. Brian Skeys says:

    Geoff was a great inspiration, we visited Barnsdale a few years ago, it is very inspirational, I wish we lived closer. Nick Hamilton is a very good speaker, very informative and humorous.

  3. Cathy says:

    Yes, that was precisely what I thought when I saw Gardeners’ World two weeks ago. I haven’t seen the most recent episode yet but assume they will visit the garden-to-be regularly. Actually, we wondered how he could afford such a fabulous old property with all that land too!… I do like his enthusiasm though. We will see! Those obelisks are lovely. You are lucky to have such a talented husband! Congratulations on the anniversary too! 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cathy – if this does prove to be the case I can’t imagine that he would have bought is because of the programme but it must have cost an arm and a leg though and regular filming would inevitable be intrusive but would make him a household name

  4. Christina says:

    I remember when I visited I visited Barnsdale (probably about 18 years ago) that we couldn’t even find Rutland on the map – this was long before the joys of Sat Navs of course!! I loved all Geoff’s Ideas, I think he must have inspired more people to garden than almost anyone else. I think you might be right about Adam Frost although I must admit I didn’t immediately think of it like you and Cathy (WandH). I think he would be a good presenter of the programme and it would be great to see a garden coming together from scratch. I’m not sure that as a Chelsea Gold medallist he will want his garden to be divided into so many small areas. I have thought that Monty seems a little sad as though he knows this will be his last series.

    • Cathy says:

      Probably 18 years ago Rutland didn’t exist as it was absorbed into Leic for a time but is now a county in its own right again which of course it should be! Yes, I agree that Monty looks sad but wondered if depression was kicking in again and if he was ready to stand down… no doubt we shall find out in due course

  5. Funnily enough, the idea was touted both in The Guardian and in horti week prior to the new season of hour long episodes. I’d wondered earlier in the summer when AF popped up as the presenter for the GH Barnsdale piece. New exec producer too, Paolo Proto of TGBB fame who hopes to attract a new audience hence the changes to this series.

    Congrats to you both!

  6. Chloris says:

    I have never been to Barnsdale, thank you for this tour of the garden. And you have given me an idea too. I have a sundial hidden amongst the undergrowth, in an area which is going to be my next big clear up project. I like the idea of a brick circle round it.
    Happy Anniversary to you and the Golfer. What a nice day to celebrate and wasn’ t it a hot one?

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, I love the use of brick and tiles and edgings in all sorts of forms at Barnsdale. Look forward to seeing your sundial project come to fruition…

  7. What a lovely way to celebrate your 20th Anniversary, Congratulations. That Golfer fellow is a keeper. Can’t wait to see what all you purchased and to see them planted in your garden. Fun…

  8. I can see why you visit often. It really is very inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  9. annie_h says:

    I also thought that watching GW a couple of weeks back. I quite like his style of presenting. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future. Barnsdale is a garden I’ve been meaning to visit for ages. It looks really interesting with all its distinct areas. Nice to have a garden like that on your doorstep that you can visit a few times throughout the year.

    • Cathy says:

      It’s only in the last year I have been watching GW regularly and I don’t know how the transition of presenters has happened in the past. Must be 3 years since I last went to Barnsdale so I don’t go that regularly though – do visit if you are in the vicinity

  10. Cath says:

    That didn’t occur to me at all, especially with the longer shows it seems like a good idea to add a new garden as a contrast to the usually very established gardens on the show. I would miss Monty 😦

  11. rusty duck says:

    Congrats on your anniversary and what a thoughtful gift!

  12. Anna says:

    My key fob is a souvenir of our one and only visit to Barnsdale also on a vert hot day en route to see my parents. The same thought that Adam could be the next GW presenter in waiting also flitted through my mind. I do hope that Monty, Nigel and Nell continue though. Many congratulations to both of you on your anniversary xxx

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