Winter Inspiration

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Sarah Headshot Visiting other gardens can be the kick-start we need. Guest blogger, Sarah Hardman tells us more about her Mothers Day.

Finally the sun seems to be coming out, and spring is in the air. There’s that undeniable urge to get outdoors and dig the earth, to breathe it all in and savour the buds getting ready to burst open. We currently are in the landscaping phase with our new little garden (sounds impressive but it’s basically two adults, a three-year-old ‘helper’ and a lot of ground clearing).


So on Mother’s Day we visited a far more established garden: Astley Hall in Chorley, Lancashire. It was a beautiful day and I do love a walled garden. Yes, there’s a fountain and parkland and delightful snowdrop-filled woods. But I prefer the vegetable beds and all those fruit trees expertly trained along wires. Well-ordered and neatly labelled but with a sense of history too in the old outbuildings and mellow red brick.


 The low sun lit up the chard and the little stalks of rhubarb emerging from the ground. I’d like to plant both back at home (and an old rhubarb forcer would be a great addition to the garden too). There are beautiful stone urns and mysterious locked doors in the walls, sturdily-built cold frames and crunchy gravel paths.

 In short – the kind of space I dream of. Naturally I took a lot of photographs and once we arrived home again it wasn’t long until we were outside, trowels in hand, ready to continue with our own little plot.

 Thanks for reading!


Sarah Hardman is the Nature Editor at Creative Countryside magazine and also blogs at Frond & Feather where she writes about her work, the seasons, nature, and simple living.