Historic homes welcome visitors to see the splendour of their gardens

Shirley Stubbs will be opening her garden at Holme Grange which is adjacent to Holme Hall in Bakewell
Shirley Stubbs will be opening her garden at Holme Grange which is adjacent to Holme Hall in Bakewell

Horticultural delights, plentiful tea and delicious cakes will all be the order of the day when two historic homes open their grounds to the public.

Two historic homes - Holme Grange, in Bakewell, and Thornbridge Hall - are welcoming guests this weekend to raise money under the National Gardens Scheme.

Holme Grange, which originally formed part of nearby Holme Hall, will be open on Saturday from 11am to 4pm, and is this year being listed in the scheme’s ‘yellow book’ for the first time this year.

Shirley Stubbs, who lives at Holme Grange with her husband Peter, said she finds tending the one-acre garden rewarding - and that she’s looking forward to showing off her hard work to green-fingered enthusiasts.

“The walled garden was the orchard and cropping garden in the 17th century to Holme Hall, which sits above the garden and adds to its picturesque setting,” said Shirley.

“It is a plantsman’s garden, with several large mixed borders, densely planted with a wide range of shrubs and perennials, which are constantly being added to. There are also two wooded and shady areas, which include ferns and woodland plants, and some specimen trees.”

Shirley and Peter, a lawyer who ran his own legal practice until 2011 when it merged with another firm, moved to Holme Grange from Ranmoor six years ago. The couple have four grown-up children.

“We heard about this house and it was the garden that sold it for me,” Shirley said. One of my main reasons for moving was the attraction of a larger garden which needed lots of loving care to restore it, and now of course , it’s good to be able to open it to share it and give others some pleasure in being here, while also raising money towards some very worthwhile charities.

“I’ve gone through the garden and created new beds and there are quite a few trees which are coming to the end of their lives over the next few years. Peter has worked very hard on the lawn to get it lovely and smooth.

“As I understand it, the house was a cowshed in the 1600s, and the chauffeur for the hall lived above in a sort of bedsit which was reached by stone steps. Then it was made into a house in the early 1970s.”

She continued: “The only other time I have opened the garden was two years ago. I opened it - not under the NGS, just myself - to raise funds for the church. Following that, the NGS became involved and asked me to open it for them.”

Shirley also had a good turnout at an earlier ‘yellow book’ opening in June.

“It went well. We were lucky with the weather and we had about 220 people. I think everybody enjoyed it. They were able to sit outside enjoying tea and cakes. All together, from selling plants, and entry and refreshments, we raised about £1,200.”

Proceeds from the two events will be divided between the National Gardens Scheme’s chosen charities, and the Bakewell Parish Church restoration fund.

“It’s nice to share what you enjoy, and find other people enjoy it too,” said Shirley.

Meanwhile the garden at Grade II listed Thornbridge Hall, at Ashford-in-the-Water, is opening on Sunday from 10am to 4pm. The 10-acre formal gardens, which overlook the rolling Derbyshire countryside, feature distinct areas such as an Italian garden with statuary, knot garden, 100ft herbaceous border, scented terrace and glasshouses. There is also a working potager - or kitchen garden - and koi lake.

Thornbridge Brewery ales will be on sale, and the hall’s owners Jim and Emma Harrison said they hope for ‘hundreds’ of locals to join them throughout the day.

Admission to Thornbridge is £4.50, no concessions, while entry to Holme Grange costs £3, children free.