Stoke-on-Trent. An industrial city world-famous for The Potteries, right? Think again. It’s also an unexpected base for a visiting some amazing gardens during the 2016 Year of the English Garden. Here’s seven of the best that are worth seeing at any time…
A Secret Walled Garden
The Emma Bridgewater factory in Stoke-on-Trent has turned a piece of derelict land into an urban garden – which is now well-stocked with flowers, herbs and vegetables…and poultry. The “Secret Walled Garden” has become a colourful oasis in the heart of the city, where visitors can join the brood of hens, and enjoy tea and cake amongst some bold and stylish planting. Cared for by the Emma Bridgewater factory’s gardener and florist, regular updates about the garden can be found on a blogpost on the website. Garden events are now held at the factory, and produce from the gardens are used in the nearby café.
The Garden Makeover Of The Decade
Trentham Gardens, within the historic Trentham Estate in Stoke-on-Trent, has strong links to Capabilty Brown, but was more recently brought back to life by Chelsea gold medal winning designers Tom Stuart Smith and Dutchman Piet Oudolf (who also designed the gardens on New York’s High Line). Now the fifth most-visited paid-for gardens attraction within the UK, Trentham was named Countryfile “Garden of the Year” for 2015 and the “Garden Makeover of the Decade” by The Daily Telegraph.
A Tour Of The World, In A Garden
The amazing Biddulph Grange Victorian Garden was created by James Bateman for his collection of plants from around the world. A visit here takes you on a global journey from Italy to the pyramids of Egypt, from a Victorian vision of China to a re-creation of a Himalayan glen. The garden features collections of rhododendrons, summer bedding displays, a stunning dahlia walk in late summer and the oldest surviving golden larch in Britain, brought from China in the 1850s.
Designed To Give Wife With Parkinson’s Disease A Series Of Interesting Walks
The Dorothy Clive Garden’s initial creation lay in Colonel Harry Clive’s decision in 1940, to provide his ailing wife – Dorothy – with a ‘series of interesting walks’ as she battled with Parkinson’s disease. Sadly, Dorothy died in 1942 but Colonel Clive continued work on the garden throughout the 1940s and 1950s – especially in the fabulous Quarry Garden, which covers approximately two acres. Today, a charity manages what is now a much larger and considerably enhanced 12-acre garden, which is perhaps most famous for its rhododendrons and azaleas.
Some Of The Finest Snowdrop and Bluebell Walks In The North West
The gardens at Rode Hall are constantly evolving, and the 10-acre site set amongst sheep-grazed parkland provides plenty of opportunity for innovation. The park and gardens are a few miles outside of Stoke-on-Trent’s city centre, and are classed as amongst the finest in Cheshire. One highlight of the year is in February when Rode opens for ‘Snowdrop Walks’. Another is in May when the bluebells are in full bloom.
In The English Garden Tradition With Echoes Of Arts And Crafts
Again, just a few miles from Stoke-on-Trent city centre, but this time over the Shropshire border, Wollerton Old Hall is a world-class example of an English garden, which has been created by Lesley and John Jenkins over the past 33 years. It covers four acres and is intensely cultivated and designed as a series of ‘separate rooms’, similar in style to Sissinghurst in Kent.
From A Formal Rose Garden, To The Holy Grail
The ancestral home of “royal photographer” Lord Patrick Lichfield, Shugborough Estate’s parkland, gardens, monuments and follies have been added to in recent years by a historically significant “rediscovered” walled garden. The stunning 19th century Grade One listed gardens, featuring a large herbaceous border, rhododendrons and azaleas, are just part of the overall experience of visiting Shugborough. Equally eye-catching are the eight magnificent monuments of national significance – from the enormous neo-classical arch crowning the hilly Shugborough skyline, to the notorious Shepherd’s Monument rumoured to have links to The Holy Grail.
For all other tourist information about Stoke-on-Trent & The Potteries, visit http://www.visitstoke.co.uk