Denmans Garden - visited at last!

Regular readers will know that around this time of year I head southwards to visit Parham House and Gardens for their Garden Weekend.  I will write about this year's visit soon.  This weekend gives me the opportunity to stay with southerly relatives and generally have a little wander around the area.  The southerly relatives live about 10 minutes from Denmans and the first time I visited I intended to go to Denmans but did not quite make it.  Never mind I thought, there is always next year.
Never, ever, think 'next year I will....' because next year dawned and Denmans was closed, apparently permanently closed.  I thought I had missed my chance and cursed my tardiness the previous year.  So imagine my delight when shortly before heading south I saw that Denmans had reopened. It was now going to be the first thing I did on this weekend.  I set off from Leicester early and arrived at Denmans by mid-morning.  It was blisteringly hot already.  Just look at the colour of the grass, we are all suffering in this current heat and drought and I fully approve of brown grass as watering an established lawn is pointless as it will recover.

The garden was the late John Brookes MBE home since 1980 and he ran his design school from there.  The garden was originated by Joyce Robinson whose planting influence remains. I never met John but he did kindly take part in my 'The Questions' series, for which I was very grateful.
I walked into the gardens and emitted that small 'wow' that is not that often uttered.  Certainly not often enough when visiting gardens that are meant to be very good but often are just nice.
I was warned that sprinklers were on around the gardens and I did have to consider whether I needed to walk around them or through them - through them seemed the more pleasant option on this hot day.  The blue benches are a feature of the garden, there are many and having them all the same colour made them stand out as an integral part of the design; rather than just being a plonked bench as I have in my garden.
As ever I will not show you all the garden, I have to leave some for you to discover for yourself should you be able to visit.
It is a great mix of vista and colour themed planting.
and on a hot dry day these gravel plantings were just perfect.
I also loved the use of topiary around the garden.  It was understated yet distinctive.
I had 'I wish I could grow agarves outside like this' envy.
and beautiful glasshouse envy.
I enjoyed seeing the plant of the year Senecio Angel Wings taking pride of place in the glasshouse. It is the biggest plant I have seen so far and I remain enamoured with it.  I did pot mine on into a bigger pot when I got home to encourage it.
One of my favourite parts of the garden, and moments when walking around the garden, was discovering this figure sitting by the pond.  On this hot still morning, when I was the only visitor at that point, this was a perfect moment of calm.  I sat on a nearby bench for a while to enjoy the moment.
I watched the dragonflies flicking around the surface of the pond.
The signs of heat were all around, it must be so hard to keep everything looking fresh at the moment.

The garden is as impressive as I had hoped it would be. It was one of those 'I'm not sure what to expect' gardens which actually are probably the ones I enjoy most.  I did not have as much time to stay as I would have liked so I now fully intend to return.


  1. I too am so pleased Denmans has opened again. I’ve been several times over the years and once I was so lucky to meet John in the garden. I found the courage to talk to him and he was delightful. He is a hero of mine and his garden is on such a human scale isn’t it. The atmosphere is relaxed, simple and gentle. Thanks for telling us about it again.

    1. I was really pleased I finally got to visit. It is a nice sized garden - not too massive & easy to relate to

  2. Great photos but yes this heat makes every English garden look like a wild Australian garden! It'll soon pass and we'll be back to lush green lawns and stunning garden beds and when it does I will certainly visit Denmans.

    1. We are quite parched at the moment but the rain will return eventually

  3. Thank you, you brought back many happy memories from quite a number of years ago. I can remember going into the first garden with the large pot and contrasting foliage and thinking Wow, this is wonderful ! It's nice to know that the garden is continuing along the same lines.

    1. Thanks- it’s good to know it’s not changed much

  4. What is the blue colour on the garden benches. Is it Oxford Blue?


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