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!