The Gardens

Here you will find a list of the gardens taking part in Blackfordby Open Gardens 2019 on the weekend of 1-2 June, with a brief description of what you will find there. This is our suggested order, but you are free to visit in any order you choose.

The gardens will be open between 10 am and 4 pm. Please note that some gardens have restricted access and no car parking, so for those driving it is advisable to park at the main football field, off Main Street.

You can download the Open Gardens Map here.

1 Butt Lane
Large mature corner plot of one-third of an acre. Acting as a backdrop to the rear cottage-style garden are two 50-year-old trees, a willow and copper beech as well as a graceful weeping silver birch, next to which the owners are also in the process of creating a wildlife and wildflower area.

Elsewhere you’ll find an outdoor grapevine, blackcurrants, pear, plum and apple trees, rambling rose, hanging baskets, raised beds and veg patch, evergreen honeysuckle and Escallonia hedge plant which might just be coming into flower this weekend.

There’s also an unusual row of bird cherry trees, usually found in wet woodland and riverbanks. Usefully, if placed at the door, the strong smelling bark of bird cherries was said to ward off the plague!

Look out for plant sales, rabbits, some classic cars on display and Welsh cakes!

23 Strawberry Lane
A quarter-acre rear garden embracing a veritable host of colourful specimen plants, trees and shrubs.

There is a collection of David Austin roses and so much more to take note of including Azalea, tree peony, a Hydrangea bed, lilac, bearded Iris, Alliums, Clematis, carnations, lavenders, Dianthus, carnations, cowslips and Primulas to name just a few.

Special note: The garden belongs to the former Blackfordby village general store, and a unique display of its history will be available to read. The garden itself is wheelchair friendly.

16 Elstead Lane (Little Corner of England)
Corner plot initially noticeable for its raised flagpole and almost certainly an amusing scarecrow or plant man of some kind on the front lawn! A highly organised, tidy garden to the front and rear where you will find hanging baskets, honeysuckle, homegrown Geraniums, Lupins, Delphiniums and poppies on the way.

6 Church Close
Neat village garden with a small, frog-friendly pond, herbaceous plants, shrubs and rockery. Of particular interest is the garden door to nowhere, gargoyles, hawthorns, dwarf lilac, peonies and various Acer trees.

In the rear garden, a ‘cloud tree’, a specimen miniature conifer, is being developed by the owner who has been weighing down the branches and cutting back foliage. Cloud pruning is a Japanese method of training trees into shapes resembling clouds. It is known as Niwaki, the literal translation of which is simply “garden tree”.

There will also be a plant sale again this year.

Oak Cottage, Well Lane
Blackfordby’s “hidden” listed thatched cottage, more than 300 years old, set in 3.4 acres of paddocks and front and rear gardens, all open for the weekend.

Featuring an allotment area (for those venturing to the very top of the paddock), newly planted orchard, chicken run, large kitchen garden and part-lawned gardens back and front.

There is a large selection of fully grown mature Magnolia trees, Wisterias, many large specimen trees (including English and American oaks, Spindle and Judas trees), several ponds, a waterfall and an old well (due to be restored).

There is also a wide range of Fuchsias grown for showing at several Fuchsia Society shows throughout the Midlands.

Roses and peonies should be a particular feature of this cottage style garden at this time of the year. New for 2019 is an Auricula Theatre at the side of the cottage, courtesy of village woodworker extraordinaire Stephen Sinfield.

A variety of plants for sale. Please note: limited car parking is only available here for people with mobility issues.

New Woodland off Oak Cottage, Well Lane
Oak Cottage’s lower paddock was planted out as new woodland in 2017. More than 80 trees were planted by the children of Blackfordby Primary School, with other new trees dedicated to its pupils since.

In total, some 425 native saplings were planted here by the National Forest, including English Oaks, Silver Birch, Mountain Ash, Field Maple, Sweet Chestnut, Sweet Cherry and Scots Pine.

Also, look out for two unique scarecrows!

Please note: Beware of the deep water at the base of this paddock. There is a walkway between the two paddocks which leads to further open gardens.

168 Heath Lane
1930s house sitting high over the village and the Trent Valley, overlooking sloping fields. A “One Hour Garden” for you to take some time yourself to look around.

One hour a week, maximum, because the owners are not gardeners. The philosophy is – if we like it, we plant it, leave it and see if it survives! And if it does it will be happy there.

Of interest is a new specimen tree, an Acer Brilliantissimum. Its striking, shrimp-pink leaves mature to yellow-green as the seasons progress, which gives this particular maple its unusual name.

Amber Cottage, 162 Heath Lane
A small but literally jam-packed garden (itself only three years old) around a 1930s bungalow.

Home to a plant collector’s dream and the stepped rear garden is heavily planted with a super range of well known and unusual plants.

The borders are all mixed, planted with shrubs, bulbs, climbers, annuals and herbaceous perennials. Also, there are hardy orchids and Trilliums (also known as wake-robin) and other unusual woodland plants.

To the side of the house is an interesting fern collection and in the greenhouse a remarkable collection of cacti.

The Old School House – access from Main Street next to the school or Well Lane
A large walled garden of a listed house on different levels. The top part, with a raised koi carp pond and a smaller pond, is dominated by a huge Lime tree.

Mostly shade-loving plants including Geraniums, Penstemons, bamboo, climbing Hydrangea, rambling rose, unusual castor oil plant, Camellias, Azaleas and honeysuckle.

Outstanding views from this elevated position, next to St Margaret’s Church and primary school, down to the village green and beyond.

Church View, 1 Main Street
Whenever a gardener says “it’s work in progress”, what it often means is that a great deal of progress has already been made and ordinary gardeners among us can clearly see where it is heading.

This garden is no exception. The owner has started from scratch and already accomplished much, having established mock orange, jasmine, honeysuckle and witch hazel.

Raised beds are coming along nicely, and there’s also Clematis and (in the small frontage) an existing Magnolia tree to be found. Tomatoes and lettuce are grown outside in the raised beds.

There is no better view of St Margaret’s Church from anywhere else in Blackfordby, hence the house name.

Note: Please beware of the quite steep foot access from The Black Lion pub up Main Street, where there is no pavement and vehicles can arrive quite quickly coming down the hill.

2 Sandtop Lane
A professionally designed large garden that never seems to stand still from one year to the next, with new areas under constant development.

One-third of an acre with a good deal of architectural interest, very cleverly organised into distinctive sections interspersed by impressive and beautifully manicured lawns both large and small (that most of us can only dream of!).

The garden embraces an eye-catching circular pond (with overhanging decking), kitchen garden and vegetable plot and an exciting selection of mature, specimen trees all around.

Take note of the growing range of pleached trees, used to extend the height of the garden, which are coming along nicely, trained along wires.

A pretty new red cedar timber greenhouse has also been built for 2019 to accommodate tomatoes and cucumbers.

17 Briar Close
With a lovely aspect to farmer’s fields and the National Forest beyond, the rear garden has an emphasis on colour with a variety of Phlox, roses, peonies, Clematis, Alliums and Primulas. Lovely, manicured lawn surrounded by laurel and beech hedges. To the front are brand new raised beds, all ready for some seasonal planting.

Did you know? Phlox prospers in a cool but sunny climate in well-watered, rich, sweet soil. They thrive in full sun, though partial shade is fine as long as the plants get at least six hours of direct sun. A little like the author of these notes!

1 Thorntop Close (open Saturday only)
Here is a gardener who loves hanging baskets! Add to that a pretty village rear garden with a colourful and wide range of plants embracing Begonias, peonies, pansies, honeysuckle, roses, cherry tree and central Acer tree.

Did you know? The Acer tree’s undeniable beauty leads many gardeners to plant them as a focal point or specimen tree in full sun. Sadly, they are not tolerant of full sun and can burn in the summer’s heat.

Please note: this garden is open on Saturday only.

Norris Hill Farm, Blackfordby Lane
You may wish to drive to this open garden where there is lots of off-road parking.

A 200-year-old former working farm with a front facing, third of an acre garden and half acre orchard set on the outskirts of the village (with a pleasant view back to the village and church spire).

Bordered by huge Scots Pines, the Grade II Listed farmhouse’s garden has plentiful colour with old English roses, including a rambler, plus Clematis, hardy Fuchsias, lilacs, Verbena, Cotinus (also known as a smoke tree), Magnolia and bedding plants. Victoria plum, cherry and Bramley apple trees plus an ancient pear tree which the owners say has “fruits like bullets”!

An outside toilet is available here but please note that the old farm buildings themselves are out of bounds and it is not advisable to stroke any of the farm cats.

Recommended Route(s)

The open gardens in Blackfordby are spread far and wide so it is advisable to follow our recommended route on foot, having parked if necessary on the football field which will be clearly signposted off Main Street.

You can download a printer-friendly version of our Open Gardens Map here.

Please note that Blackfordby Nursery (accessible off Sandtop Lane next to The Village Hall) will be offering a special 10% discount on plants to everyone with a Blackfordby Open Gardens passport wristband on the weekend of 1-2 June. Make sure to pay a visit.


About Blackfordby

Find out more about our village.

The Gardens

Discover the gardens and download a map.

Find us on the Open Gardens National Directory.