Holehird Gardens overlooks Windermere and is the home of the Lakeland Horticultural Society.
Probably my best impression of the gardens, on a visit back in the early 2000s, was the wow factor of massed hydrangeas.
Subsequent visits have always been a treat. And my most recent visit in summer of 2016 reminded me of the impact that bold plantings of Astilbes can give.
The Lakeland Horticultural Society pack so many different species of plants into their often damp Cumbrian gardens that there is always something that one can take away. For example, design inspiration for my clients’ gardens and an interesting plant or two for my own garden.
This is a brief tour of some of my favourite plants from Holehird in the summer. And there’s a slideshow at the end
Holehird Gardens – Hydrangeas
From 1989 – 2012 Holehird held a National Plant Collection of Hydrangeas. However, losses due to weather led to a change of emphasis.
The hydrangeas are now a Lakeland collection, with varieties that thrive in damp, slightly acidic soil of Windermere. And around 200 species and cultivars were certainly flourishing in 2016!
Holehird Gardens – Buddleia
I’ve slipped these deciduous shrubs in on their own as they prove my earlier point about inspiration. One of the designated species and cultivar beds is laid out with buddleia bushes. A goodly selection with the spherical flowers of Buddleia globosa and the less frequently seen Buddleia x weyeriana ‘Moonlight’. Plus Buddleia davidii Santana with gold edged leaves and deep purple flowers.
Holehird Gardens – Astilbes
A National Plant Collection of Astilbes is held here.
More importantly, the Lakeland Horticultural Society is the International Registration Authority, maintaining records of the origin and characteristics of the different cultivars.
For the ‘ordinary’ visitor, this means that there is a wonderful and large display of astilbes. The plant does particularly well in this rich moist soil. You will become a fan of astilbes after admiring these ones.
Holehird Gardens – Alpines
The Alpine Display house and associated alpine beds are a delight. Protection from the rain is essential if these plants are to survive the wet Lakeland winters. Holehird has an Alpine Display house with a changing collection of alpines.
And also a Tufa house. Tufa is a soft volcanic rock which can be used to create interior cliffs in miniature in alpine houses. There is a permanent display in here, so tiny alpines can grow into large mounds.
Holehird’s tufa house was originally a Victorian pit house. This was a sunken glasshouse was built surrounded by pits filled with dung and bark. The decomposing dung and bark generated heat which in turn warmed the sunken glasshouses, or pit houses.
Holehird Gardens – Walled Garden
With borders facing all aspects and island beds too, the volunteers who do so much of the gardening at Holehird have space to let their horticultural talents bloom. Whilst bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects add a background hum.
The herb garden is situated within the walled garden and is planted in raised beds. This is ideal for those herbs which prefer to have dry roots, as it allows for a free draining soil to be used. You know me, I do love a herb garden. It always strikes me as being the epitome of an ornamental edible garden.
Holehird Gardens also holds National Plant Collections for Polystichum ferns; Meconopsis, the Himalayan blue poppy; and Daboecia, a summer flowering heather.
On my next visit I look forward to seeing the new display house which opens this year, 2017 in the walled garden. Like all good gardens, Holehird is constantly evolving.
If you would like a garden that grows with you and your family, ask about our garden design services.
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