Yes, even as the national health situation worsens we, at the Gardens, are optimistic enough to be looking to the future and recovery.
With the help of both government and lottery funding we are looking for help to keep the Gardens thriving and growing.
The 3 posts are below – please click on the links for further information and application processes.
- Project Manager – Parkland Project (Lyric – Green Recovery Fund) (12month full time contract) Click here .pdf or Word
- Outdoor Visitor Experience contract (3 months plus, freelance). Click here .pdf or Word
- Finance Officer/Manager. (fixed term, 2 days per week flexible). Click here .pdf or Word
Most of these posts will have to begin in ‘working from home’ mode and the initial interview processes are likely to be virtual too.
However, we are currently not delaying making these appointments.
Please share this information with those who you think might be interested
We have lots of fun, socially distant family activities, events and workshops coming to the Gardens over the Summer holidays. We kick start Unplug and Play sessions and workshops in a slightly different way this year. Instead of every Tuesday and Thursday we have bookable workshops for various activities including – Woodland Wand making using recycled materials to get creative outside, cast spells and weave some magic, Friday 14th August. Nature Makers eco-friendly, nature inspired arts and crafts for little ones on Friday 14th, 21st and 28th August. B’Opera concerts for babies and small children Saturday 15th and Thursday 20th August. Tom’s Mythical Creature workshops Wednesday 19th and Friday 21st August, where you can create a creature inspired by what you see in the beautiful gardens or a creation of your own with artist Tom from Curious Oddities. Or make a beautiful mandala sun catcher with found natural materials you discover whilst exploring the Gardens, hang them up at home to catch the sunrays on Wednesday 26th and Friday 28th August. How about a little outdoor theatre too? On Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd at 6pm we have production of Alice in Lockdown, the perfect performance for these times and suitable for all ages.
For Members we are open each Friday evening 5pm – 9pm – you may also bring a non-member guest for £3! Embrace the warm evenings and relax with a picnic, cream tea or bottle of something nice.
Keep an eye out on our social media and website for full details on any of the above events.
We are open every week from Wednesday through to Sunday 10:30am – 4:30pm. You are most welcome to bring picnics and enjoy the Gardens all day or why not pre-book our fabulous ‘Cream Tea in a Box’ with scrummy scone, jam, cream and unlimited hot drink. Family trails are on each day, with plenty to see and explore. Dogs are also welcome on short leads.
Did you know… we are also available for private hire from bespoke weddings, to meetings, extra space for an outdoor classroom, family get together or party. There’s also room for family camping in a safe space. There is so much to explore and do.
Keep an eye out on our social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and sign up to the newsletter on our website for further updates, events, and surprises.
August in the Gardens is so packed with lovely activities, performances and treats there is surely no reason to risk those queues and crowds by going any further afield.
In the ‘New Normal’ we have revamped some of the way we do things and almost all activities now will be ‘pre-booked’.
So, in addition to normal Day Entry and our popular picnic takeaway ‘Cream Tea in A Box’ we have for visitors delight;
First Songs musical sessions for babies and their grown ups and Relaxed Concerts by the renowned B’Opera who create beautiful music for tiny ears.
Yoga sessions with Yogi Clair – two sessions in the outdoors follow by a cream tea.
We have so many charming spaces in the Gardens and we are really pleased to be able to use them to enhance these sessions – what a memory to be made! Baby’s first ‘move and groove’ under the heritage apple trees.
Tickets for Wind in the Willows and Alice in Lockdown will go on sale on this site by the end of this week.
The Gardens are re-opening!
Starting with 2 special weekends for Members Only: 6th/7th and 13th/14th June.
Opening to the general public will start on Wednesday 17th June (Wednesdays to Sundays).
We are really pleased to be able to welcome people back into the Gardens again.
We know spirits will be lifted by a wander – or a run- in the Gardens, but we will naturally be monitoring how we can manage safety. Numbers will be limited and there are no activities planned at present. Family picnics will be welcome – please take home your rubbish – we cannot dispose of it at present.
Most of the Gardens’ staff are on furlough and we are managing a limited volunteer return. So, preparing for opening and stewarding is a big job- please bear with us.
Tickets, for the Members weekends and general opening from 17th , will be released on Wednesday 3 June.
Full details will be released next week.
In order to open the Gardens safely, we have had to make some changes to how we welcome visitors.
Everyone MUST book in advance, including Members. New booking time slots will become available each Friday at midday for the following week.
When you come, you will notice some differences to your usual visit:
- The entrance courtyard will have separate ‘in’ and ‘out’ lanes.
- The Visitor Centre will be closed.
- Your pre-booked ticket and/or membership card will be checked in – contactless – from the wooden steps.
- The Orangery will be selling limited takeaway refreshments.
- Cards, gifts, jams and pickles will also be sold from here (1 person at a time in shop only)
- All payments will be by contactless card only, or cash into a donation box (no change given).
- For the time-being the mud kitchen will shut in line with Government guidance.
- To maintain health standards there will be limited access to the Toilets.
- All areas of the Gardens are open, but there are reminders to keep a minimum of 2m apart. Please Pause and make way for someone to pass on a narrow paths. Please respect this for the safety of everyone.
- Picnics are welcome – within the government guidelines. Please take your rubbish home – we cannot dispose of it, at present.
All arrangements have been risk assessed but will be constantly reviewed and may change without notice.
How to book
All visitors, including Members will need to book a ticket in advance.
We are sorry but there will be no ticket sales/bookings on the day.
We will post the link for booking the first week on Wednesday 3 June on our website, Facebook page and in our email newsletter.
A limited telephone booking system will be in place for those unable to book online. Telephone booking can be made on Thursday and Friday mornings 11am – 1pm. We can take credit card numbers over the phone.
The process will be as follows:
- Please book one ticket per person, except for children aged five or under as they don’t need a ticket.
- Currently the tickets will be for the whole day – but a limited number of tickets will be sold for the day.
- New opening times 10.30 -4.30pm. We plan to introduce regular early evening openings later.
- Dogs on leads are welcome.
- Please note: we are not currently accepting two for one cards or other cards at present, we will keep this under review. RHS members need to book in advance.
Thanks to our lovely supporters we have hit, and exceeded, our target to ensure we can buy our spring bulbs next year!
Whoopee! That really is a great relief to our gardeners, who are always thinking seasons and seasons ahead.
Your help now, and in the future, really will make a difference to the Gardens’ survival.
Did you know it costs over £550 per day – every day of the year – to keep the Gardens running smoothly, so knowing our plant purchases for next year are safe really helps. Thanks again.
The Gardeners have just taken delivery of the summer bedding for this year- from our excellent local professional supplier Baginton’s.
The cosmos, zinnia, salvia, pelargoniums etc are all looking bright and full of vigour – our visitors may have missed Spring – lets hope Summer is not lost.
Without our regular volunteers it will take a little longer for these to go in, though. We also lost all our nursery and propagation spaces 18 months ago when the hotel decided it wanted to nullify a license agreement – so the plants are distributed around in tiny space and we have nowhere to propagate many of our own plants these days 🙁
Looking back and looking forward:
Dracunculus vulgaris: the Dragon lily
It’s arrived! Also known as ‘snake lily’ and ‘devil’s tongue’ -we can see why.
We’ve been lucky with warm springs of recent years and has given us quite a few years of spectacular moments.
It grows wild in the eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans.
Gardens inspire poetry, poetry inspires Gardens.
The urge to be creative during lockdown has been fuelled, happily, by many tv programmes, blogs and online memes. Hopefully the creativity will not be lost as we emerge slowly from our hibernation.
The radio poet Ian Macmillan, the Barnsley Bard, works extensively with arts groups in Yorkshire. Attached is a document (.pdf) with some really useful prompts and exercises to get our poetry going – whatever age we are.
One of the styles of poem popular in victorian times was the ‘Acrostic’ .
We’ve had a go — how about you?
Here is Ian’s
Here is ours
4 selections of photos from long, and not so long, ago.
Plus some of the photos we have from the beginning of the restoration.
Some of the pictures from before the restoration.