A Mid-Summer Treat…..


Broomfield Hall Gardens, Derbyshire

Yesterday was Mid-Summer and the weather was about as perfect as one could wish for. But we were also in for a treat…our Grandson Matthew, who is a student at Broomfield Hall, a part of Derby College, invited us to take a tour of part of the Walled Garden that have recently been restored.  Bromfield was once a ‘gentleman’s residence’  built in the 1870’s and the Scottish Garden designer William Barron was commissioned in 1880 to landscape the gardens on the 425 acre estate.

Over the centuries the Hall has had a mixed heritage.  Shortly after WW2 the Estate became an Agricultural College and now has a broad remit of Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care.  As for the extensive gardens they had become neglected but slowly but surely they are being restored by both volunteers and students. I am told that despite the passage of time the garden layout and indeed the whole estate boundaries and field structure is the same today as in the 1880’s.


Many of the plants are raised in the gardens nursery by the Horticultural Students.


It is still work in progress so we will have to return at intervals to see just what they have instore for us.

It should also be mentioned that the Head Gardener was invited with the College to create a Long Border at the recent RHS Chatsworth Garden Show.  It was the first time they had taken part and to the teams credit they were awarded a Silver Medal…not bad!

22nd June

(C) David Oakes 2018


Summers Here…..


Wild Cow Parsley..

Many of our meadows and hedgerows are full of Cow Parsley…it may be wild and considered by many a weed but the delicate fleurettes would grace any garden…as would the flowers of the Elder Flower Tree’s which seem to be having a bonanza year…so with luck lots of autumn berries to harvest.

_DOI7340qqaEven the common wild brambles have mounted a special display of blossom this summer…

_DOI7433qqIt has been a strange year so far, as we are partway through June, maybe it will continue to create more surprises for us.  A wet but overall mild Winter which was followed by a cold snap that delayed  Spring, caused confusion for plants and birds alike.  Everything was late… then bang Spring exploded in woods, meadows and gardens, foliage of every description  just packed so full of life, seeds, blossom and flowers


So it is now early Summer and despite a late start to Spring everything now seems in a rush.  Each year in August I take you so see the National Hydrangea Collection, that’s when the collection is open and the plants at there best. This year the opening date is the 10th August.  Until then they are locked safely away in the walled garden at Darley.  To tempt us there are a few plants outside the garden but perhaps someone needs to tell them that it is a little early to flower as many are already showing signs of blooming soon…


Nor is our garden a slouch in coming into bloom. Peony, Roses, Cosmos, Begonia and Honeysuckle are all adding welcome colour…



Wild or Tame…they are all just little miracles of nature.

14th July

(C) David Oakes 2018

Here Today… Gone Tomorrow



The Day Lilly

It produces lots of tall green leaves, then even longer stems on the top of which are tightly wrapped flower buds….then one morning you find a big brash flower.  Crinkle edges to the petals, long stamen and just demanding that you admire it.

But the name says it all…one day of glory then the petals drop and that’s it.  The only positive is that the plants do seem to be prolific and for a week or so we will keep getting a repeat performance on top of one of the many stems….then its all over till this time next year.


11th June

(C) David Oakes 2018

A sunny Summers Day….


A Summers Flower Meadow

My preference is usually for a woodland walk, no matter the season or weather….but today the Wild Flower Meadows were too big a magnet to resist. The scent from the herbs as you brushed past to which you added a warm sun from a blue sky with fluffy clouds and it all seemed perfect..




Nor is our garden to be left out in the progress to summer….. everything seems to be coming on with a rush…

Hosta are just coming into flower…


Slugs that have been in hiding are now delighting in chomping their way thru the leaves. Our blue dwarf Hosta that usually are normally a month or more behind  the bigger whites, but not this season. Honeysuckle is starting to flower along with Roses and border Geraniums.  It is also the time for the Bees and insects are busy  harvesting nectar and pollen and there is a constant buzz amongst the shrubs…there are of course Spiders equally anxious to catch a meal.

With favourable weather, garden or countryside, its a grand start to summer… its also grand to be out and about


4th June

(C) David Oakes 2018


At last…..


The Blue Tits have started to nest in a corner of our garden….this is so late, by June in a normal year they would be starting their second brood.

We have seen some young Blackbirds about but the small birds appear to be late starters this year.  The strange thing is the larger migratory birds like Osprey, arrived further north in Scotland weeks ago, reserve web cams show them feeding hatched chicks.

Indeed it is a topsy turfy season.


2nd June

(C) David Oakes 2018