Gardens Trust

Caring for the County’s parks, gardens and designed landscapes

Welcome to Northamptonshire Gardens Trust …

… a registered charity passionate about protecting and conserving our county’s historic parks, gardens and designed landscapes.

We are an enthusiastic group of volunteers who work in partnership to raise public awareness and appreciation of our enviable landscape heritage – from the recognised treasures and curiosities, to the less well-known surprises waiting to delight. Thoughtful conservation today can ensure a richer, biodiverse environment for future generations.

We hope you will enjoy the opportunity of discovery through our website. If you are interested in being part of a welcoming group of people passionate about making a difference and having fun – JOIN US >

A Christmas message from Elaine
Chair of Northamptonshire Gardens Trust

Now that 2020 is drawing to a close, we reflect on times past and optimistically plan for the following year. Where does that reflection begin on what has been a tumultuous year for us all? Like many, I have been thankful to be surrounded by wonderful family and friends, albeit virtually most of the time. Small comforts have been simplistic; experiencing the changing seasons, healing benefits of the great outdoors and the simple pleasure of cupping my hands around a warming cup of tea to ease our troubled times.

See more in our Christmas Newsletter ...

A Series of 4 Online Talks

Celebrating Unforgettable Gardens
in Northamptonshire

Working in collaboration with The Gardens Trust, we are delighted to bring you a series of talks on Unforgettable Gardens in Northamptonshire.

The talks will be held via Zoom each Wednesday evening in January starting at 7pm and are free to members of the Northamptonshire Gardens Trust.

Guests are very welcome £5 each or all 4 for £16.

  1. Lyveden New Bield

by David Marsh

6 January 2021

Lyveden is the creation of Sir Thomas Tresham, a devout Catholic who spent much of his later life in the Tower for his faith. It is, as the National Trust say “a poignant and dramatic example of one man standing up for his beliefs in dangerous times, through an act of quiet and creative rebellion”. Left unfinished on his death in 1605 the roofless lodge and its elaborate water gardens were not just meant to be beautiful but deeply spiritual and symbolic of his beliefs.

Rightly listed at Grade 1 Lyveden is the most significant surviving garden of its era and definitely a good candidate to be the first in this year’s lectures about Unforgettable Gardens.

2. Coton Manor and colour in the garden

by Susie Pasley-Tyler

Wednesday 13 January 2021

“The garden at Coton Manor was created nearly a hundred years ago by my husband’s grandparents and following the previous two generations, we have been living and gardening here for the last thirty years. We inherited a mature garden with wonderful trees, hedges, views, natural water and imaginative planting. The layout of the garden on a downward slope lends itself to many different and varied aspects. Over many years of trial and error I have taken advantage of this by using different plants and colours to evoke a change of mood or atmosphere as one moves through the various parts of the garden. I am particularly interested in colour, but it only becomes successful when other dimensions such as structure, texture, flower timing and of course plant selection are given equal weight. So, my talk will centre on how I perceive the value of colour in the garden.”

'The Nation's Favourite Garden' as voted by garden visitors in conjunction with The English Garden magazine and the National Garden Scheme.

3. ‘Obsessive compulsive walled kitchen gardening! There is no cure thankfully!’

By Joe Whitehead, Head Gardener, Burghley House

Wednesday 20 January 2021

“Gardening figures highly in my family and I’m the third generation to follow the path into this most wonderful career. Over the last few decades I’ve also been lucky enough to be able to indulge my passion for walled gardens and here at Burghley we are about to again breathe life into another lost world hidden behind high walls.”

Joe trained at RHS Wisley and during his career has worked at Burghley House, Salle Park, Raveningham Hall and Blatherwycke Park where he brought the walled garden back to life. He has now returned to Burghley House as Head Gardener, where the walled kitchen garden is actually sited in Northamptonshire.

4. Deene Park ─ A family’s park and garden for five hundred years

By Charlotte Brudenell

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Charlotte will talk to us about the history and development of the family’s treasured landscape, Deene Park. The Brudenell family have lived there in continued succession since 1514 and Deene Park is lucky to have a host of maps that display how the gardens have evolved since then. Charlotte will focus on some of the more well documented stages showing how the gardens have reflected the house and its place in history over the past five centuries. Much work was carried out in the 20th century after the ravages of the World Wars and the subsequent requisitioning. More gardens have evolved in the 21st century leading to the Head Gardener’s plea of "Please not another one!"

Historic parks and gardens are a much-loved part of our shared national story, appreciated now more than ever as COVID-19 forces us to evaluate the role of open space in our lives.

Sadly though, these unforgettable gardens are themselves at risk. Gardens and landscapes have always been vulnerable to destruction through maintenance cuts, neglect, development or mismanagement but now these precious treasures are more at risk than ever, as COVID-19 has forced many historic gardens to shut their doors and lose essential ticket revenue, whilst on the flip side public parks struggle to serve the growing needs of their communities for outside exercise.

From 2020 to 2022 The Gardens Trust will be celebrating Unforgettable Gardens – what they mean to us, the threats they face, and how you can help save them for future generations.

The Gardens Trust

See one of Northamptonshire's unforgettable gardens - Chichele College Garden >

Planting a tree with the help of Capability Brown

For a flavour of what we do …

Why not watch our video of Capability Brown's work at Castle Ashby.

Financed by Heritage Lottery funding as part of the Capability Brown Festival 2016, this film was inspired by Alan Titchmarsh in the television series entitled Titchmarsh on Capability Brown (Channel 4 2015) where he celebrates the 300th anniversary of his horticultural hero by helping to create one of Brown’s lost masterpieces at Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire. The final programme of three showed him standing at Belvoir Castle accompanied by the Duchess of Rutland with a lap top in hand viewing drone footage of the landscape.

For more about this great landscape gardener, see Capability Brown >