A visit to Haddonstone Show Gardens

It was a lovely sunny late summer Sunday and I had a few days off from work coming up, so I felt I could spend an hour or so wandering around an NGS Open Garden.  I saw a link to a garden on Twitter the day before and thought it looked an interesting garden.  Better still, it was within 30 minutes drive so definitely do-able.  So I set off fairly promptly in the morning to be at Haddonstone Show Gardens shortly after they opened.  This was a good plan as by the time I left it was getting quite busy.
On arrival you can be in no doubt that you are the right place.  It did not really need the yellow sign to show where it was.  Helpfully I was given a map of the gardens, this was needed not because they are huge, but because they are quite compartmentalised and I think it would be easy to miss something if you were not checking where you were.
 It is a garden of focal points.  This is to be expected and remembered as it is a garden meant to show off the company's wares.  There is nothing wrong with this and if done well (and on the whole it was) it is very effective.  I think it is difficult to display grave stones in a decorative sense so they can surely be forgiven if at points the 'fitting into a garden' element were not even attempted.
There is of course much stone work.  This colonnade around the swimming pool was rather wonderful.
and there are statues everywhere.

I did start to think about the statues in The Prisoner whose heads move to monitor where he is.

I rather liked this neat vegetable garden, which did not really contain stone-ware so I almost wondered if I was meant to have wandered into it.
The box edging was crisply cut throughout the garden.  It was very well maintained.
I found the home of the resident monster, the monster clearly likes to play with tennis balls.  I did not linger too long in case a pair of red glowing eyes stared out at me.
I would love to own a pair of stone eagles, they would look a bit (lot) out of place where I live, but I do think they are very fine.

You may have noticed by now that I am completely distracted from looking at the gardens as such and just focussed on the stoneware.  It is hard not to do this.
I did look up and see the top of this rather good looking tree.  I wondered if I could wander around to find the tree itself.  I was not sure actually where it was or if it was even in this garden.
I found this young man lounging in the entrance to the orchard.  The orchard had some fantastic old trees.  I recognised this young man as I think I have met his (brightly coloured) brother before at The Laskett.
This lawn appears to feature two statues of naked men running towards each other with a horses head in the middle.  I am sure there is something deep and meaningful about all this but in truth...
... I don't think it is a tableau I would want to replicate on my lawn.
This one has blank staring statue-eyes, which is better than it having moving eyes, yet still there was something about her that made me think of Ray Harryhausen or the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who.
Across the road from the main gardens are the Jubilee Gardens.  These felt very peaceful and were dominated by the sound of running water.
It also housed the follies.  I love these follies, I look at them whenever I go to garden shows and wish I had somewhere to put one and the funds to buy one.  I imagine that the two things go hand in hand.
This stone bench, beautifully overgrown with ivy was one of my favourite parts of the garden.
though I did still feel like I was being watched.
This is part of an old windmill that is in the Jubilee Gardens, what a great feature.
There are lots of wall plaques too, I do love a good wall plaque.
Back over the road in the main gardens there are more wall plaques and water spouts.
The top lawn is well planted and nice to see the wooden framework as it shows it is a real garden not just a show catalogue.
Statues lurk around corners,
watch over pathways,
and guard doorways.
There are benches in quaint corners,
though this quaint corner did seem to be the birdbaths' graveyard.  I think I had wandered into where I shouldn't again.
and I was getting closer to finding that tree.
there it was, by the main manor house.  This formal lawn was beautiful.  Very tranquil and a nice calming space.
I loved these gargoyles,
this one looked like he was begging for food.
and I loved this little mossy covered stone owl.  He was just adorable.

So of course when I went to get tea and cake what did I find on special offer.....
... yes my garden now contains its own guardian of the garden.  His name is Bubo.


  1. So many nice statues!
    I envy your country because you have a lot of NGS open gardens to visit.
    Since last year, I have joined the NGS Japan to open our garden for charity, however, there are very few gardens that open to public in Japan for charity.

  2. What a fascinating place to visit, Sculpture is so personal to a person and the setting where it is to go, I love the choice of your new friend which came home with you!

  3. So pleased you liked our gardens...thank you for taking so much trouble to write about them.
    Can I cheekily ask if there is any chance you could write something on Tripadvisor?
    You can find us at http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g186348-d1534310-Reviews-Haddonstone_Show_Gardens-Northamptonshire_England.html
    Our 2015 NGS opening will be on 4/5July and the more money we can raise for charity the better!
    Many thanks
    Simon Scott, Haddonstone simons@haddonstone.co.uk

    1. Hi Simon - yes I'm happy to leave review, I had a great time and will definitely visit again.


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