The older varieties of fruit bushes have also been planted

The older varieties of fruit bushes have also been planted including gooseberry Golden Drop, blackcurrant Boskoop Giant, raspberry Lloyd George and redcurrant Wilson Long Bunch. Older varieties of vegetables are also grown, the seed being supplied by the Henry Doubleday Research Association of Ryton near Coventry.


On an adjoining grassed area med-lar, mulberry and quince have been planted. All these were favourites in the large gardens attached to every stately home and are well worth a place in any moderate sized garden for they have fruit which is different but of a very pleasing flavour, learn something more interesting here.


The four acre kitchen garden abandoned after the Second World War is grassed over and used for grazing animals. It contains the shell of a conservatory which was built in 1777-8, with a central glazed dome added in 1836. Heated by ducts situated in the rear wall, it is shown in early 19th century records to have contained lemon, lime and orange trees, together with myrtles, ferns and pelargoniums.

Calke Abbey nature

No doubt tended by a small team of gardeners, and often the setting for romantic trysts, these places are now only a memory except for a few in botanic and public gardens. So it is pleasing to learn that the Trust have plans to restore this building to its former glory if the money can be found and work should commence shortly on the shell of the buildings at an estimated cost of ¬£175,000. As this is the organisation’s centenary year it would be nice to see a further commitment to restore the fruit houses and the growing pits in the physic garden.


The restoration of gardens such as these is a major task by any standards -as I found when I was responsible, some 25 years ago, for the restoration of William Barron’s landscape at Elvaston Castle, see also this compare lille hotels website,¬†after years of neglect. Fortunately the expertise is available and being put into practice by John Sales and his dedicated staff at Calke under the able leadership of Stephen Biggins, the head gardener, with enthusiastic assistants, many of whom are volunteers.

Calke Abbey animals

The aforementioned television programmes portrayed a way of life that will never be seen again, however the restoration work being undertaken here, especially in the walled garden and plea-sure grounds, will provide a constant reminder of those times. Calke could never have been a great success as a formal landscape, however with its chain of lakes and its magnificent trees, set in an undulating landscape, it is an outstanding parkland of which Derbyshire should be justly proud.