Brodsworth Hall - Yorkshire
Outline history of the gardens
The gardens of Brodsworth Hall were laid out during and shortly after the building of the mansion in the 1860s in the gardenesque style incorporating features such as ornamental flower beds, roses, an Italianate fountain, statues and a quarry garden with rock garden. All are linked by walks lined with clipped yew and holly with views and vistas incorporating a range of garden buildings, such as the Italianate summer house, target house and eyecatcher. There is a game larder and ornamental privy.
In the early part of the 20th century and again after the Second World War, some areas were replanted, but none of this work has interfered with the underlying Victorian design. The garden is currently under a long term restoration programme. This has included the rock garden, now replanted with a large collection of ferns, including the giant tree fern, Dicksonia antartica. Ongoing work includes tree surgery to open up areas of dense shade and re form the tapestry of clipped yew, holly and evergreen shrubs.
The gardens and park are Grade II* on the English Heritage Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.
- Garden of 15 acres landscaped in true high Victorian style with formal areas of traditional dense evergreen shrubberies broken up by bright splashes of colour in urns and the flower garden's bedding.
- A restored curved iron rose pergola runs through a box edged rose garden. 19th century roses, include a collection of fragrant Portland Roses.
- Traditional bedded-out flower garden adds colour. Symmetrical beds are cut out of the turf and a central focus is provided by a marble fountain.
- The Grove forms a quarry garden with rocky dells, and a fern dell, with small buildings, walkways and bridges that criss cross one another at different levels.
- Marble sculptures - figures of greyhounds and shallow urns line the steps that lead from the terrace to the lawn. Statuary is set in niches in the yew hedge. All this sculpture is of the same period and arrived from Italy when the gardens were created.
- Target House, where once the family practised archery, houses a small garden exhibition. From here a light-hearted diversion is created by an "eye catcher"; a façade of a building half way up a cliff.
- Pet's graveyard contains around 20 graves, the latest dated 1975.
- Rare and unusual plants
Huge 30 ft Strawberry Trees, Arbutus unedo and andrachnoides, grow in the formal gardens. Lychee-like fruit decorate the trees in October to ripen to a rich strawberry red.
- A collection of hollies available to the Victorian Gardeners such as Ilex X altaclerensis 'Camelliifolia', the Camellia leaved holly.
- Period correct tulips such as 'Coleur Cardinal' and Tulipa saxitalis and turkestanica.
- Exotic planting in the parterre during summer.
- 19th century ivy varieties such as Hedera cavendishii, H donnerensis and H. colchica 'Dentata'.
- An old cedar tree stands in the centre of the circular east lawn.
Wild life and wild areas
The lawns have survived many years without close cutting or the use of herbicides to become a valuable rare remnant of magnesium limestone grassland rich in wild flowers. Milkwort, rock rose, cowslip, Rest-harrow and orchids flourish here. Every attempt is being made to combine the re-establishment of this historic garden with conservation of the site's rich natural heritage.
Areas of long grass provide a perfect setting for daffodils.
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