Derbyshire Diversions

We enjoyed a couple of days in Derbyshire recently, postponed from June when it was originally going to be tagged onto our visit to the Chatsworth Flower Show. Not surprisingly, as well as admiring floral displays at Haddon Hall (above and on Wordless Wednesday) and the well preserved property itself, we squeezed some garden visits into our time away, including some opening as part of the National Garden Scheme – a group of gardens at Barlborough near Chesterfield and a cut flower garden at ‘plague village’ Eyam called Wild in the Country.

I really enjoyed our visit to Wild in the Country, a small rectangular plot devoted entirely to growing flowers and foliage for cutting, the owner’s dream and made possible with a small inheritance. There, a range of raised beds were laid out with a mix of perennials and annuals, helpfully accompanied by comprehensive labels with honest information about the usefulness of the plant (the owner won’t, for example, be growing gaura again, despite it supposedly being a current favourite of florists). Local florists and wedding planners come to pick their own blooms, paying per stem, and although it would be difficult to make a living from it the joy the owner gets from spending time in a job she loves is incalculable. Sadly, although I took pictures of individual blooms, I omitted to take photos of the whole plot, but if you click on the link above there are pictures there.

It is always interesting to visit a group of open gardens as they can vary tremendously in both size and content, and having now opened our own garden for the NGS it is good to chat to other owners and compare experiences and ideas. The two best things taken away from this group opening, however, were not specifically garden or plant related (although I did buy some useful donations-only plants from one of them) but instead a yummy new cake recipe which I look forward to trying for myself and an idea we had considered ourselves but were unsure how practical it would be:

Visitors and regular readers will be aware that we added to our 6×8 feet greenhouse by installing another of the same size bought from eBay but cut in half, which left a narrow passageway between them, just sufficient for a slimline water butt and access to the butt and the smaller greenhouse for a small gardener. It certainly did the job, extending greenhouse space by 50% but having a smaller space to heat when required, but manoeuvring would certainly have been easier without the narrow access. The water butt here is undoubtedly the most used of the nine we have, and I was therefore reluctant to even consider glazing the gap between the two greenhouses as it would mean losing this convenient water source. As you can see from the photo above, one of the Barlborough gardens has successfully joined two greenhouses together and despite their different width.

Having seen this, we immediately began discussing our options, considering moving the smaller greenhouse to meet the larger one, or alternatively glazing over the access, and of course checked this out on site soon after we got home. The second suggestion was the preferred and easier option but the difficulty in buying extra glazing bars meant that, like before, buying a cheap eBay greenhouse for parts was the most practical solution and the search is now on! Water storage would still be an issue, however, as there are currently three water butts fed from the greenhouses, one an overflow from the main one in the access way and located within the adjacent fruit cage, and the third against the end fence. Lateral thinking was clearly required and, with the reluctant sacrifice of a small part of one of the cutting beds, it should work having all 3 butts lined up side by side against the back fence.

We could, of course, just splash out on a brand new 6 x 12 greenhouse – but that’s just not how we do things here!

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14 Responses to Derbyshire Diversions

  1. Christina says:

    Derbyshire is a lovely part of the world. I love the way the NT is now using flowers from its gardens to decorate the rooms of the houses. Btw, the link to the cut flower beds garden didn’t work for me, I had to put it in the search engine, then I found it quite quickly although there was an Elvis film of the same name that filled the first couple of pages.

    • Cathy says:

      I checked out the link when I read your comment and it worked for me on both laptop and phone…. not sure why it wouldn’t work for you? And yes, I agree with you about NT and flowers, although Haddon Hall is still in private ownership and not NT. Are you baking hot still? Sounds unbearable 😦

      • Christina says:

        I went to Haddon Hall years ago and remember it was lovely.

        • Cathy says:

          This must have been my third visit over the years and I am still fond of the place; the gardens have been redesigned since the last time as I previously only remember roses. There was an interesting exhibition of quirky sculptures from everyday objects this time, which was just up my street!

  2. Linda Brazill says:

    Love to hear what other gardeners learn when the travel. I always dream about a greenhouse but in a very cold climate like mine it is not going to happen. Plus I think it is best if you build it into your original plan as I could not give up the garden space for it anymore. That first image of the flowers is breathtaking.

    • Cathy says:

      How many of us have ‘an original plan’, I wonder, Linda?! When we dismantled the original greenhouse because it was far too shady there was only one spot a new one could go in and fortunately it wasn’t too much of a sacrifice losing some underused veg beds ;). Thanks for the kind comments about the border – the bold borders are beginning to work quite well now, despite being a bit unruly

  3. Hello Cathy, lovely post. This sounds like a garden I’d love to visit, having a cutting garden is something I’ve always wanted… one day! I have a friend that has one at the bottom of her garden and it’s stunning, the constant displays of flower arrangements in her kitchen and hall are a sight to behold. Your greenhouse quandary is an interesting one, I’m sure you will get lucky finding those vital bits for the greenhouse link up on eBay, or even your local tip!? You never know.. x

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you – even just a few small cutting beds , like I have are a real joy as I love to admire the blooms even if I am not cutting them. Yes, we have no doubts we will get the bits we need for the greenhouse – with the internet it is so easy to find what you are looking for these days

  4. Cathy thank you very much for your great post and for the links. The floral arrangement that heads your post is very beautiful. The beds cut are lovely. Haddon Hall is stunning and its garden is beautiful. Greetings from Margarita.

  5. Anna says:

    Oh yet more fabulous sunflowers 🙂 You must have enjoyed the cut flower garden visit. If my memory serves me well it featured in ‘Gardener’s World’ earlier on this year. I wonder why the owner doesn’t rate gaura. Good luck with the greenhouse parts search. Maybe Freecycle might come up trumps.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh you have got a good memory, Anna, as it didn’t register with me that it had been on GW – can you remember when it was on (approx)? If I remember rightly the gaura just wasn’t performing well and was only just coming into flower; ironic, as I have tried it unsuccessfully a couple of times but had just bought one at one of the NGS gardens the day before! Having only just decided to take on the greenhouse task we had actually missed a completely free one in our local paper the week before, but I have no doubt we will get one easily for a reasonable sum. Will try Freecycle if tonight’s bid is not successful – not somewhere I have bought or sold before

  6. Anna says:

    It was the 9th May this year Cathy 🙂 Now my memory is not that good but the BBC GW website provided that information together with a four minute clip that you can still see : http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p052gvg1
    I’ve gown gaura from seed before and also found it miffy.

    • Cathy says:

      Oh thank you for that, Anna – I had begun Googling it with little success before – I do remember watching it when it was on but that didn’t register when I found it in the NGS book

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