My Gardens at Longford Hall Farm

A little about the gardens...

We have always been keen on having a nice garden since we moved into the house some 30 years ago. At the time we moved in the lawn hadn’t been cut all year, the garden beds were overgrown with weeds and so were the paths. The first summer we waited for the first Daffs and perennials to appear. We were disappointed!

We set off on a mission to have the garden we wanted..

The Walled Garden

We had a basic garden structure ie a lovely walled garden laid out with paths and a lawn, just totally unloved! This garden used to be the fruit garden for the Hall and so we had a small Orchard which comprised a couple of cooking Apple trees and A Victoria plum - my favourite!

There were other fruit trees mainly apples (found to be eating apples) and a couple of plum trees espaliered on the walls all of which were grossly out of shape and some proved to be well past their sell by date and had to go.

We traced the garden layout back to 1901 so that was something we wanted to save and I hope its lay out will be there long after we go.

Bit by bit we retrieved a couple of the old espaliered plum trees, one which produced small “cooking”plums - brilliant for jams and crumbles good also to eat raw, the other is a desert plum, large juicy plums great to pick and eat straight off the tree. In the orchard we managed to save 2
cooking apple trees and a Victoria plum. We love fruit so over the years we have added an Apricot, Peach, Damson and a green plum tree. We have an assortment of soft fruit, basically enough to keep the neighbourhood going!

After many Gardeners World programmes we decided on a water feature, a rhyl which retained the path whilst incorporating a suitable feature in a triangular garden.

Turning to the beds, firstly the weeds outnumbered the plants so after they had been thinned out we began on the borders. The first summer was a waiting game living in hope to see bulbs and perennials - not very exciting!!

We begged and borrowed (never to be returned) plants from my mothers garden, all offerings gratefully received. Whether we knew what it was or not it was planted. More Gardeners world programmes opened our eyes to the array of plants available.

Through our farming contacts we were introduced to a real plantsman and now friend who helped us to transform the garden into what it has become.

We began a new planting scheme, having a colour wheel in the garden, now we have cool whites, pinks, blues and purples in one border and hot yellows, orange and reds in another border. We were introduced to numerous plants we hadn’t seen or heard of before but they now sit well in our borders and put on a good show.
Our plant collection expanded greatly as we visited most of the major plant shows and our planting combinations have become more creative and subtle.

The Front Garden

A couple of years ago we decided to tackle the front garden, this was a blank canvas just grass surrounded by huge conifers. We wanted something different from the herbaceous walled garden.

Inspired by a show garden we saw at Malvern spring show we went for mainly shrubs, Rhododendrons, azaleas, roses and hydrangeas, with ferns, grasses, hostas and a few flowers mixed in for good measure!

We have to have a pond,( my other half loves ponds) in this case a rectangular one and we found a fountain which we both love.
The garden was planted in autumn in a bog, winter was unkind to a new garden, this was followed by a hot dry summer so only now are things beginning to look as if they intend to make a garden.

We are still tinkering with this garden, firstly adding an additional bed behind the pond, presently we are adding edging between garden and drive, we are on the second choice of edge around the pond - it now matches the garden edging. We have found some plants do not like their surroundings so we have made alterations to the planting. I guess we will stop when we and the plants are happy!

We retired from Dairy farming a couple of years ago so now have much more time on our hands. This has resulted in pots being acquired and added to the garden , a polytunnel and a veg patch all being started this year. Now I have got into taking cuttings so my plant stocks are ever-increasing.

It occurred to me that anyone visiting our Holiday lets may like to share the fruits of our labour and partake in an all-consuming passion, the garden is somewhere to wander and relax, so any visitors are welcome to come and look round with me.

Following this year's lockdown I have got very brave (for me). I contacted Derbyshire National Garden Scheme and they have decided that the gardens are good enough to open to the public. There will be plenty of weeding going on next year! Our working garden will have to be pristine and my experiments hidden out of the way of all eyes. I am hoping to learn more from the gardeners who visit. During the last 12 months of lockdown Ray our resident photographer has been at a loose end and has had unlimited time to take some wonderful shots of the garden and the flowers. These can be seen on his website www.edutainer.me.uk

Finally, I would like to thank friends and family for their help and support in the construction of the
garden.

Garden News

beautiful rose

the new garden

over the winter we have been busy on our new garden. It is now taking shape and we have 2 months to go before opening for NGS
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from the garden to the woodland walk

Our New Garden Project

Behind the front garden Dad planted rows of trees that were meant to be planted around the farm, however they never made it. They provide a good windbreak so we have decided to incorporate them into the garden as a garden walk. So far all we have done is clear the Ivy off the floor.…
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Nature in action

At least something can enjoy the scenery
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The Duck Pond

Our next amenity. We are aiming to improve our duck pond to make it attractive for a picnic or just to take in the quiet countryside and wildlife. This is our starting point.
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