A brief visit to Barnsdale

I have visited Barnsdale Gardens a few times as it is not that far away from where I live, so I was surprised to see that I have not written about it previously.  I am fairly sure I have visited whilst writing this blog, but after a quick check I could not find where I have written about it.

The day of the visit began with a walk around Rutland Water with a good friend; a place I have driven past many times but never stopped for a walk.  We had a good walk, it tried to rain a little but not with any commitment.  A picnic lunch was eaten and we had a good catch up on our own and the world's events.

Then we set off to Barnsdale with the intention of a wander around the gardens followed by tea and cake.  It was quite late in the afternoon when we arrived so we did speed around faster than we should have done.

Barnsdale was the home of Geoff Hamilton who became a part of the Gardeners World presenting team in 1979.  In 1985 Gardeners World moved to be located at Barnsdale until his sudden death in 1996.  Geoff also wrote many books and was the first Gardeners World presenter I remember watching with any regularity.  Gardeners have their 'this is my Gardners World presenter' a bit like Doctor Who fans have 'their doctor' (Jon Pertwee  - just for completeness).

I remember Geoff Hamilton as a pragmatic and practical gardener.  I was very much a novice gardener at that time and I could understand what Geoff was talking about.  Barnsdale is comprised of 38 different gardens, many of them were created for television or books that Geoff wanted to demonstrate.  Whilst in some ways I think it is fair to say this makes Barnsdale a bit of a pick and mix of gardens, I still find it fascinating to see that Geoff was gardening in small spaces, about the same size as many of us have to garden in.  This made his work very relatable.

There is much to see and I am not going to show you anywhere near all of it.  You need to explore for yourself if you can.  Fairly soon on entering I reached the first smile moment.  I remember watching Geoff making 'hypertufa' 'rocks'.  This is a garden style from my childhood I remember well. 
We wandered from garden to garden and of course at this time of year a lot of growing has not yet really commenced.  This did not dampen my enjoyment of the gardens though.
I always like seeing the bones of a garden, it tells me a lot about what it will look like and also it helpful in understanding how a garden is put together.  This Japanese style garden might have been my favourite garden on the day.  It is simple but very effective.
I always enjoy a good parterre.
and of course at this time of year topiary really comes into its own.
I love the Lily Sawtell scupltures that appear throughout the garden as planters and as water features. 
I really enjoyed seeing the gardens again and made my usual note to myself to visit again soon later on in the year.
The gardens are open almost every day of the year (they close for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).  This was my first garden visit of this year and it felt a good place to start.  

Take care and be kind.

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