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

Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

14 thoughts on “How does your garden grow

  1. Hi mrs UHDD
    lovely photos We love taking photos, and some we print and frame, change them, and can look at happy memories on our wall! Rob just put a pre order on new Cannon digital camera due out in March, Rob is sadly being made redundant in March (Care officer in Learning disability home) so we are trying to find a digital photography course so he can develop his skills,
    Take care

  2. What a beautiful estate! I would love to visit the place when I have a chance.

  3. Tell me more about those sexy curves? The wall I mean?

  4. Did you ever do the experiment of standing on a toilet roll? It’s the same theory as round towered castles.
    The curves of a crinkle crankle wall make it stronger than a straight wall. An equivalent straight wall would need to have buttresses or be built thicker to be as tall.
    Here the curves give sheltered bays to the garden inside. Presumably the wall is arranged to get the best sunlight and warmth to these bays for growing fruit or tender plants?

  5. Good morning gadget, you’re on form this morning, I thought you might have a bit of a hangover, after all reaching a MILLION hits on your blog last night has to be a cause for celebration!
    It really is a drop dead gorgeous wall; I know that makes me sound a bit sad.
    Sarah, you could feel the warmth reflected back from the walls, an ideal place to be a fruit tree or to sit with a glass of wine on a summers evening.
    Tom was looking over my shoulder when I was writing the post he wanted to know if people could still build walls like that.

  6. The wall is truly gorgeous, and I love the spiderweb ironwork, too.
    (A MILLION?? Holy Wah.)

  7. Yes, if I had a £ for every hit………. ah well,

  8. Or a doughnut each of the 35,000 comments made; what’s happened to your avatar Gadget? you’ve become faceless.

  9. Snowdrops are my absolutely favourites this time of year. Those swathes of them at Hopton House. are gorgeous. And you’re right – there’s something very special about that wall. 🙂
    Also love picture of the…. iron trellis? not sure what it is, but I love the sky and the pattern.

  10. What a lovely house and gardens. Those snowdrops look absolutely gorgeous. They’re one of my favourites this time of year. Love the statue with all the lichen on it.

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