Monday, August 15, 2016


We made a return visit to Holehird Gardens this summer. We were staying at a B&B in Troutbeck village, Cumbria, and were delighted to find that the gardens were only a 3 mile walk.

Holehird Gardens is the home of the Lakeland Horticultural Society.  The 10 acre site is leased from the Holehird Trust and managed by a group of volunteers who do all the planning and development of the garden, each member having their own area to garden. As well as opening the garden to visitors, for a suggested donation of £4, they run education classes. They also hold the National Plant Collection of Astilbe, ( meadowsweet) Meconopsis, (Himalayan poppy), Daboecia, (heather) and Polystichum( sword fern). None of these are plants that I could ever grow in my garden but I do share a love of rock gardens and trough gardens.

Entry through the original walled garden

The original gardens were built in the late 19C but were derelict by 1945. In 1969 he LHS was formed to restore the gardens. Situated about 500' above sea level on a sloping site above Lake Windermere, the area receives around 70' rain a year.
The first part of the garden is contained within the original walled garden. We entered the garden through the gate revealing a low dry stone wall, planted with alpines.

Plants are well labelled although for me it is of little help because these plants would not enjoy our hot humid summers. Still, for those who live in the milder English climate it is a good education tool. Troughs look very good in a separate display area and raised above the ground not only for drainage but so that the plants can be more easily enjoyed. The backdrop of the low drystone wall above which is a grassy area with dispay beds is perfect.

Further along the wall, steps lead up to a grassy area with island beds.

At the end of the gravel walkway is a patio with seating area under a large prunus.

A collection of miniature hostas in a 'theatre'

Along the far wall is a wide herbaceous border.

I really would like to go through that door. But it says LHS MEMBERS ONLY. But I think I might be disappointed to find that it was the inside of a building built on the back side of the wall. I imagine they store their equipment in there.

At eh ed f this border we went out through a gate and turned left to visit the first of the greenhouses.

The tufa greenhouse is built into the hillside for protection from cold. It is the only one I have ever come across during many garden visits. The tufa is mounded up high so that it creates a bank of stonework bring the plants to eye level. At the far end is a water feature and pool.

A planter hewn from solid rock.

The rock garden with a backdrop of ornamental shrubs, including acers and conifers for winter interest. A bench, with thoughtful placement, to enable the visitor to enjoy the plantings and views.

Hi David! I am so lucky that he enjoys garden visits as much as I do. Well, almost!

We left the garden by the fell gate, walking across the field until we reached the road. Crossing the road we picked up the path back to Troutbeck village. My head was full of wonderful ideas for new garden troughs and rock garden planting.


  1. Oh WOW! I'd be interested to know what plants you would choose for our 8b area to get a similar look for a rock garden. Too much sun tends to damage my succulents and not many are cold hardy.

  2. Another immaculate garden! I'm really impressed by what a group of committed volunteers can accomplish. And I was utterly enamored with that tufa greenhouse.