Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


How does your garden grow

As I mentioned in my previous post I went to Hopton Hall in Derbyshire at the weekend

To see the floods of snowdrops but most importantly, as this is a private home and garden to have a rare chance to see how the restoration and development of the gardens has progressed


I have fond memories of working at this house a few years ago, we had to decorate a marquee with flowers, for a scene in a TV drama, it was a treat of a job, ‘It’s a party scene make it look splendid.’  no  other brief or budget constraints, I was as happy as a pig in muck, not only could we have free rein creatively, it was working in such a wonderful garden, they were long days, I was there when the dew was still on the lawn and I was leaving when the bats were swooping down at night,  the Brogden family who own Hopton had just started out on their plans to restore the gardens to their former glory.


The walled garden was derelict then, but not now, Spencer and his assistant Steve have planted 2,500 roses and 3,500 box plants


I have a particular passion for this wall, its known locally as the ‘Crinkle Crankle Wall’ it was built in about 1700 I think, I am sure Alice the Architect could tell us lots about it, it’s purpose  is to provide warm sheltered spots to grow delicate fruit trees, figs, peaches and such like.


To get a sense of the true sexy curviness of this wall, you have to look from outside the grounds,


See, I risked life and limb against the tourist traffic to show you.


Of course none of this restoration can happen with out the vision of the Brogdens and the graft of Spencer the estate manager, who looked after us when we were ‘dressing’ the marquee, no doubt he spends a lot of time in here ( coincidentally Hedgewizzard tells today ‘how to clean your poly tunnel)

Poly tunnel

It was busy on Saturday, but then the weather was exceptional for this time of year, the whole place felt very photogenic and I’ll post some photos on my Flickr site, (click on the sidebar.)



Hopton Hall has been around since the 12th centaury and what I love about the building is that it wears it’s history on it’s face, you can trace it’s development over the centuries, changes in doorways and windows, different styles of brick work and stone. As a ‘Hall House’ the wealth to fund such building would have come from the lead mining in the area as well as farming.


Dash along and see the snowdrops if you can, you’ve got till March 2nd


If not you could always book a holiday in one of the estates holiday cottages,(with access to the heated swimming pool) it’s a rather a nice ‘neck of the wood’  the locals are very friendly.

Not Spencer