An Afternoon in the Garden…


Calke Abbey, South Derbyshire

October and a sunny afternoon, well it was sunny yesterday, so we headed to Calke Abbey once again.  This time the destination was not to explore the wide, wild country estate, but the Walled Gardens.

The Walled Gardens were created for pleasure, in the Flower Area. Then to supply food for the House, there is the Vegetable Garden and Orchard and hidden in a dark corner is the underground Icehouse.

The Gardens are hidden from the House by woodland, which also hide the Harpur Crewe Family Church of Saint Giles.

In the summer the Flower garden is overflowing with colour, now that autumn is here much has faded and gone.  Still lots to see, so join us on an afternoon stroll.

I hope the Gardeners are thoughtful and find accommodation for the Scarecrows in a corner of the Garden Shed…after all the nights are getting colder and darker.

We also had an afternoon at the Theatre….  On the Show this afternoon were the Pumpkins and Squashes…..  the cast all coming from the Vegetable Gardens. The show was staged in the Victorian Auricula Theatre.  A great way to use the Theatre now that the summer plants have been returned to the Greenhouse for the winter.


October is always full of surprises as the seasons change, Calke just added to them once again…


Please Remember ….

Stay Safe ….

Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

8th October

(C) David Oakes 2020

The Hydrangeas…… provide a garden of delight.


Tomorrow is August the 1st and here at one of the National Heritage Hydrangea Collection it will be an ‘Open Day’.   The Collection is open everyday during the season but tomorrow there will be guided walks and volunteers available to tell folk  about the collection, both for Hydrangea care in general and also historical background to this walled garden.

For the volunteers this year it will be one of mixed emotions.  Every years since the team started the restoration and establishment of the collection, they have spent hours  producing a spectacular display for visitors to enjoy.  This season they have had to work extra hard over the past few weeks trying their best to make the gardens look anything like what they would really like.  The winter and spring took its toll. Heavy rains,  a period of drought and a very late frost followed by high winds would have made life difficult in any year……  but add the CV19 factor, lockdown and  other restrictions and those dedicated volunteers were unable to take prompt and continual actions, to mitigate the problems.

So whilst the Collection may not be having one of its best years…it is still a very worthy display.  White blooms seem to have survived the best.  There are still many dead flower heads and even seed heads from last year, however hard the team worked they were never going to achieve several months work in just a few weeks. So full credit to all.


The Collection can be visited at Darley Park, on the banks of the River Derwent in Derby.  The National Heritage Collection is open till September.  An approach area is open  with  both Hydrangeas and Herbaceous borders all year ….. and its all free.  🙂

I should add that today has been blistering hot….35c this pm.  Certainly had people heading for the shade.  Every shadow  was occupied 🙂   Thunder on the way.


Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

31st July

(C) David Oakes 2020

Saturday….So Another Grand Day Out


Let me take you on a virtual walk round the Rose Garden.  Hopton Hall Rose Gardens to be precise. Hopton Hall is located above Carsington Water on the edge of the Derbyshire Peak District.  Dating back to 1414, it has had a number of owners, many of whom have left their mark with various additions, to the house over the centuries…..hence its unique frontage.


Some years ago a new owner arrived and has set about restoring and improving the estate.  One of the key tasks and a major achievement was the restoration of the old Walled Rose Garden.  It was indeed in a sorry state when I first viewed the garden, and  I heard that this was the next big project. I did wonder how and if it would be successful.

Indeed it has, and the gardens are opened for the public to view.  I should mention that the Hall is a private residence and the Rose Gardens are only open for a few weeks over the summer.  NOT this year though….CV19 has seen to that.  So lets enjoy a virtual tour.



There is also much more to enjoy.  After pausing in the Pavilion at the top of the Rose Garden for Tea and Cakes and then suitably refreshed, you can explore the Herbaceous Gardens and the Lake.

Then before heading for home…. take another pause.  Maybe past guests, who include  Oliver Cromwell, Mary Queen of Scots have also paused here.


( The Grounds are also open for a few weeks in the Spring so you can enjoy a mass display of Woodland Snowdrops.)

One day, virtual will become a reality again, till then

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

27th June

(C) David Oakes 2020

They said it was going to be cooler today….. could have fooled me.


Hot or not….. the Day Lilies have really enjoyed this spell of sunny weather.   I have said it before but will repeat myself…..  of all the lilies I do love the Day Lily.  It just seems so sad that all the effort goes into generating these fabulous flower heads, only for then to shrivel up overnight.


Roses are also enjoying this summer spell of weather.  All shapes and all sizes, each year they surprise us when the buds burst….

The reward for me today was the arrival of  Masquerade.  No blooms the same, just a wash of shades of pinks with a golden centre.


Tomorrow is Saturday…so lets have another Grand Day Out….we may even find some more Roses.  Hope you can join us…. till then

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

26th June

(C) David Oakes 2020