Looking around Dave’s green and pleasant land

Teacher Dave Darwent, of Greystones, who is opening his garden to the public.
Teacher Dave Darwent, of Greystones, who is opening his garden to the public.

It was his granddad who did the spadework in the 1930s, and Dave Darwent sees little need to make great changes.

The Sheffield IT lecturer has retained many original plants and other features at his home in Ansell Road, Greystones.

There’s a traditional rustic pergola with typical 1930s varieties of rambling and climbing roses, a dwarf-wall greenhouse, two formal rose beds planted with varieties chosen by grandad Frank Dyson and rhubarb plants and gooseberry bushes that are more than 80 years old.

Dave keeps the garden as a living example of how inter-war gardens were cultivated to provide decoration and produce - and he’ll be showing it the public on Bank Holiday Monday. He is hosting another open day as part of the National Gardens Scheme.

Over the past three years, he has had visitors from as far as Birmingham, Shrewsbury, York and Sydney (although he doubts they came all the way from Australia to see his horticultural efforts) as well as many locals.

“They like to see gardens that are small and they can relate to,” he says.

The house, built in 1927, was bought by Frank, a silver cutler, and his wife, Beatrice. Frank set about creating a garden split into two, one for fruit and veg, the other for decorative plants.

After Frank died in 1959 aged 61, Beatrice took over, adding a lawn, but much of the original basic format remains. Dave moved in in 1986, shortly after his grandmother died.

“I grew up with my parents in a house with a huge garden in Dronfield. When I came here, it wasn’t quite pristine, although it had been looked after neatly. It took me a long time to get the hang of what I was doing and to get it back to what it had been. It’s how I want it. I have never liked modern designed gardens.

“By the time I left school in the late 80s, there were pots and gravel everywhere, and it wasn’t my style.”

Dave is a deputy director at Longley College and his garden offers ideal relaxation.

The £2.50 admission on Bank Holiday Monday go to the NGS, along with proceeds from plant sales and the ‘grandma’s recipe book’ he has compiled Dave bakes cakes for the occasion, selling them in aid of the North Sheffield Cats Protection Group.