If you’re looking for spectacular colour and beauty all year round, then a visit to Barnsdale Gardens is a must. And don’t just take our word for it- the world-famous Rutland attraction has been named ‘Best Visitor Garden in the UK’ in a national poll by Garden News magazine. Originally the home of ‘The People’s Gardener’, Geoff Hamilton, Barnsdale contains 38 individually designed ‘real’ gardens, each with something to delight and inspire throughout the seasons.
The most exciting time of the garden's year is undoubtedly the spring, when everything is really coming alive again after the long winter snooze, with drifts of bright spring blooms carpeting the borders, fresh new foliage and blossom, beautiful birdsong and the delicious scents in the air. On Mother’s Day, mums (if accompanied by their children) visit free of charge and the Easter weekend sees fun activities for all ages.
Barnsdale’s cottage gardens are arguably the star of the show in summer, their borders heaving with a tumbling mass of floral planting. There are special events too that are free with garden entry, so why not come along and learn all about flower arranging or the wildlife in your own garden, attend a clinic for poorly plants or take in a demonstration of seasonal cookery, using produce from the Allotment and kitchen gardens.
In autumn too, keen growers will thrill at the lovingly tended produce gardens, a fruit-filled orchard and borders still awash with glorious colour. If you are a photographer then this is a wonderful time of year, as long shadows and low sun make for marvellously atmospheric images, falling leaves fluttering in whirl of red and yellow and birds flitting between misty trees.
Winter is the perfect time to appreciate the gorgeous colours and textures which have lain hidden throughout the rest of the year. As blooms fade and foliage retreats the winter-flowering perennials brighten even the coldest and dullest winter’s day. Lovely drifts of Cyclamen start the proceedings, with Hellebores taking the interest right through until spring; above are the highly scented and beautiful winter-flowering shrubs, complimented by the stunning colours of willows and Cornus.
As we head into a New Year the snowdrops in the new Geoff Hamilton Winter Border have an irresistible attraction, signalling that spring is on its way. The drifts look wonderful, but add to that clumps of very rare and unusual snowdrop varieties, and you can’t fail to have your spirits lifted.
‘This is a place that is always evolving,’ says Barnsdale’s owner Nick Hamilton. ‘We have ideas here to suit all kinds of gardens and people return to Barnsdale time after time for inspiration or just to enjoy a fantastic day out.’
So make this the year you visit Barnsdale. ‘The People’s Garden’ is just waiting for you to come and explore.