What an unexpectedly beautiful county Lincolnshire is. On a blisteringly hot July weekend we made our way to the North East to see what gardens lay in store.
Hall Farm Gardens in Harpswell, near Gainsborough is a 3 acre delight, centred around the former farmhouse. Owners Pam and Mark have created the garden from scratch and the packed borders leading down from the house are testament to their passion for planting. Mature trees and shrubs give height and interest throughout the year and there are mixed borders featuring roses and perennials. A wild flower meadow and woodland walk are at one end of the garden whilst at the other, a rill dotted with Erigeron karvinskianus daisies leads to a newer parterre containing vegetables and flowers.
Hall Farm is also host to a medieval moat – not encircling the house but a short walk away through a tunnel of trees where cattle graze in surrounding fields. The moat formerly surrounded the site of an old manor house and the wild garden here features enchanting corten steel figures cavorting in the dappled light.
Occasionally I stay somewhere so nice that I want to tell everyone about it so here’s a little plug for a charming bed and breakfast I found on the Sawdays website. Grayingham Lodge near Gainsborough is the sort of B&B you hope to find; a traditional farmhouse boasting every comfort with a friendly host and full English breakfast. I can highly recommend this place, breakfast in the antique filled dining room was a real treat.
Onwards then to our second garden of the weekend. Brightwater Gardens in Saxby describes itself as a ‘magical 8 acre garden with wildflower meadows, prairie planting, ponds and arboretum’. It is also a RHS partner garden which allows free entry to RHS members. Except on a Sunday which they do not say on any marketing information as we discovered to our cost at the time of leaving, since on arrival there was nobody on the gate to take our money. We spent a good 10 minutes trying to find someone to pay on our way out so it was a bit galling to discover that we then had to pay double especially since we could have simply walked out.
The garden was very compact – lots of garden rooms, some with more in than others and somewhat bizarrely featuring a Haddonstone bust of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown despite the fact that the surrounding landscape is decidedly un-Capability Brown-ish. However, on Brightwater Garden’s website they mention that the local church may be attributed to him so that’s a good enough reason for the bust, then. And he does have a lovely outlook across the fields.
So the rest of the garden – I liked the group of birches which are apparently underplanted with snowdrops which must be a pretty sight in the depths of winter. The wildflower meadow with knee-high grasses and mown paths gave me high hopes for the rest of the garden. It was all very pretty, the rooms flowed into one another and there were little surprises around each corner such as a cooling water feature at the foot of some steep steps and a stone obelisk surrounded by a square of pleached limes. I very much liked the lavender walk featuring a variety of different lavenders. I was looking forward to seeing the ‘prairie borders’ but disappointingly they were distinctly un-Oudolf-like and rather resembled a border containing a few grasses.
Brightwater Gardens has its own green burial site and I would imagine a walk through the garden en-route to visiting the grave of a loved one must be especially peaceful.
Our final Lincolnshire garden was Easton Walled Garden near Grantham which I will blog about in a separate post.