Published: 07 May 2014
Barnsdale Gardens
For those of us off a certain age Barnsdale Gardens will be forever linked to Friday night viewing on BBC Gardeners World with Geoff Hamilton as the key presenter.
 Nick Hamilton.
Walking around the individual gardens built throughout the eight acre site is a reminder of the times that we saw many of the early ones being created for the camera and broadcast into our own homes. This is not suggesting that today’s visitors will only see these original works.  Barnsdale Gardens are certainly not trapped in a time capsule, preserved for the memory of a gardening superstar; the whole site is a dynamic, working garden with professional horticultural practice being followed by the team of full time garden staff and volunteers.

Since Geoff Hamilton’s untimely death in 1996 his son Nick Hamilton has taken charge of the gardens.
The diversity of size, design and planting to be found in each of the thirty nine individual gardens makes Barnsdale a unique and inspiring garden destination. 
Nick Hamilton commented “This is a place for everyone to get ideas that they can take back to their own gardens. They have been created with materials and plants that can be obtained at most garden retailers to suit most budgets” he continued “We have always been keen to demonstrate that gardening can be accessed by everyone, the concept behind my fathers BBC programs was to demonstrate good gardening practice that was achievable by as many people as possible, this links  his reputation as being known as the peoples gardener”
The ornamental Kitchen Garden
This objective of being accessible to all is still high on the Barnsdale agenda with a wide range of demonstrations, courses, talks and tours throughout the year. Nick is developing the range and content of educational activities, further details will be published on their website.     

Thirty nine individual gardens

A real bonus for visitors is the attention paid to the labelling of plants; this is a major task considering the large numbers and rich diversity of plant species, the new permanent planting schemes and the many seasonal displays.  The standard of plant care is also extremely high and requires a great deal of staff time, and expertise to ensure the high standards are maintained.
The ongoing maintenance to ensure all thirty nine individual gardens plus the surrounding planted borders, woodland areas, fruit and vegetable growing plots and lawns requires nonstop maintenance to ensure they are looking good all year round baring in mind it is all carried out following organic practices and a peat free policy. 
One of the key benefits of following organic practices is the dramatic increase in wildlife. This is apparent in the large numbers of bird species to be seen, and heard around the gardens, their songs adding that extra beauty to any visit.
A visit at any time of the year will inspire ideas that can be taken home and implemented to give many years of enjoyment, and memories of a visit to a great garden and the gardeners who have created it.
This is a garden that will appeal to the keen plants-person and those with an eye for good design, plus everyone who enjoys just walking around and watching the plants go by and listening to the birds singing.

The Cottage Garden
To quote Nick Hamilton “The first gardens inspired thousands of people via television, today we continue to inspire and inform people when they visit the gardens”    
Having spent three days at Barnsdale working with Nick and the Garden Team I know that the values set by it’s creator are still much in evidence, namely that good, professional horticultural practices and organic principals are followed, visitors are welcomed and encouraged to interact with it and, perhaps most importantly relate to it.
For further details about visiting, membership, the gift shop and tea rooms or booking the gardens as a wedding venue see their website:
Reported by Chris Allen  

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