Day 20 of my #AdventCalendar for gardeners- a visit to Calke Abbey. 

Mossy roofed potting shed in the walled garden at  the national Trust’s Calke Abbey. There’s a tiny bed in there for the garden boy whose job it was to keep the greenhouse boilers stoked. Alison and I have started a tradition to walk the gardens in the week before Christmas, and reflect on what life was like for the gardeners. Then there’s a food fair in the old riding school where we sample local honey, Leicestershire cheese, home made fudge and chocolates- and we stock up for the festive season. It’s rather a wonderful tradition to have started. 



The walled kitchen garden is looking beautifully tidy. The beds are mulched and weeded.  All set for the spring sowing season. Quite a cheerful sight to behold.


It’s nice to find something new in a favourite- much visited garden. This area was being excavated last time we stopped by.  What treasures  were under the mounds of earth, we wondered.  It looks like a boiler for the hypocaust heated wall. Isn’t it amazing it’s still here. And the beautiful  brick floor is still intact.


We mooched in the peach house. I think this blue paint  is my all-time favourite colour. I’d love to paint my potting shed the same hue. It reminds me of the Mediterranean.




We peered through the misty  peach house  windows. In the summer these open right up. There are deckchairs to sit and gaze at the wild flowers and waist high grass.


View of the peach house /orangery  from the church. We spotted these glorious giant white-painted cloches. And coveted them! 


A few ancient espalier  fruit trees  remain in the walled garden. We love their mossy-covered boughs. 


We hadn’t noticed this door in the walled garden before. In summer there’s so much to see. But in winter,  we notice the bare bones of the garden and home in on  wonderful details like this.

We’ve never seen the sheep grazing right to the house before. We like this seasonal change. The sheep set a scene that could easily grace any Christmas card. We just need some snow to complete the picture. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my tour of Calke Abbey and the kitchen gardens. Do you have a garden that you love to visit as often as you can? Do you find new treasures each time you visit? Thanks for stopping by, and please feel free to comment- so I know I’m not just talking to myself. 

Hoby Open Gardens

On a still summer’s evening, the church bell sounded the hour, and a flock of geese took flight from the lake. 

I was standing on the edge of the ha ha at Glebe House,  looking over the pasture lands that would once have been owned by the clergy. It’s a sight that gladdens the heart. Undulating wildflower meadows with contented sheep asleep in the shade  of ancient oak and lime trees. 

This is the perfect place to stand and survey the garden. Scent drifts from the roses planted all along the old brick walls. And there’s a tantalising view through an archway, wreathed with honeysuckle and climbing roses. 


Rosa Shot Silk makes a glorious background for the drifts of allium Purple Sensation. 
The hypocaust wall would have once had peaches, apricots and figs. Food for the clergy at the rectory next door.  Owners Steve and Diane  Horsfield say the clergy would have had rather a nice life here. They dined on shellfish from fishponds in the meadows below. The couple have been digging up quantities of shells all around the garden ever since they moved in. 


Rosa Mutabilis with euphorbia, alliums and nepeta. There’s a first floor garden room to take in the views.

 


The views from the ha ha. 


Rosa Crown Princess Margareta in the foreground.

Crown Princess Margareta. 

Glebe House in Hoby, Leicestershire, will be open on Saturday and Sunday 18th and 19th June 2016 from 11am t0 5pm along with 11 other gardens to raise funds for All Saints Church. Tickets cost £5.  There will be lunch in the village hall and cream teas at Glebe House and Redwood. Pimms, ice creams and  a plant stall  can be found around the village, and an art exhibition in the church. The car park will be in Thrussington Road (LE14 3EB) 

I was lucky enough to have a preview of the gardens when I joined the BBC Radio Leicester Down to Earth gardening team. You can hear more on the programme today  (12th June) at 12 noon on 104.9FM and on i player. 

A favourite of mine was Clematis Cottage.The Montana clematis (I think it’s Marjorie) seems to be trying to climb in through the bedroom window. Just heavenly! Don’t you agree?