Despite living in this area for many years, I had never visited the late Geoff Hamilton’s famous Gardens at Barnsdale. With the summer holidays fast approaching 3 friends and I decided to put this right and treat ourselves to a“school trip” of our very own. Having been up since 6am in order to walk the dog before getting the kids to school, the visit yesterday began with the obligatory coffee and cake pit-stop on arrival. Blood sugar thus restored to something approaching normal (as opposed to the usual stressed parent levels) we then meandered off at a leisurely pace around the site. And what a delight it was!
We spent a lovely few hours enjoying Barnsdale’s combination of garden and allotment displays. I confess the allotments made my attempts at allotment gardening feel somewhat inadequate, until I reminded myself that Barnsdale’s plots are developed for display and not real life. There were no gaps where produce had been harvested, and no crops decimated by the attentions of the legions of rabbits, pheasants, hares and whatever else we have to contend with on our plot. So I allowed myself to just enjoy the spectacle of allotment beds brimful with produce in tip-top condition.
I was pleased to see there was lots of companion planting and composting in evidence, including vast bays of leaves slowly decomposing. Two Victorian ornamental brick compost bins really caught my eye. I was particularly taken with them although they are not terribly convenient: the construction has to be taken apart to get at the compost! They were lovely to look at, though.
|Victorian ornamental brick compost bins.|
The visit overall was useful proof that vegetable growing can be beautiful as well as practical. I have been experimenting with this in my garden at home, gradually incorporating more productive plants such as currants and raspberries and trying out different combinations of vegetables which I can successfully grow alongside the shrubs and flowers. My experiment is still in its first year but I am pleased with the results so far – more of which in a future blog.