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The Gardens of Baslow Hall

From the old Chestnuts and Cedars that lead you up the drive, to the glorious colours of the Long Border, from the hand-clipped topiary to the summer scent of climbing roses, the gardens at Fischer’s are a delight to the senses. 

Originally created by Max Fischer over thirty years ago, who brought the near derelict site to life, with a passion for plants and a vision for what they could become, the gardens have matured to provide a beautiful, English country garden setting for Baslow Hall.

Just up the valley from the river Derwent, with the glorious Peak District on all sides, Baslow Hall sits within five acres of carefully tended gardens. With a strong nod to the Arts and Crafts tradition, with colour, structure and the high gritstone walls surrounding the site, the gardens need to be explored to be truly enjoyed. The Arboretum reflects the landscape beyond and provides stunning autumn displays. The Glade, with its perennial woodland planting and diverse birdlife, invites you to take a walk on the wilder side. The main lawn is the perfect foil for the colour and drama of the Long Border and the tropical seasonal display of the Lily Pond. And just beyond the Thyme Walk is the Kitchen Garden, providing an abundance of the freshest produce for our guests.

A distance shot of the grounds of Baslow Hall, Derbyshire. Hotel and restaurant in the background

FRESH FROM THE GARDEN

 

The gardens provide an abundance of produce used by Nathan Wall and his team in the kitchen. And it’s not only the no-dig potager beds providing fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruit. The philosophy in the gardens is that everything is up for grabs. From Nigella seed to the infusions of the Lavender hedge, from foraged mushrooms and edible flowers to the sweet woodruff and wild garlic. If it’s seasonal and fresh, it can be used.

The microgreen greenhouse and polytunnel have reduced food miles to metres, and the raised beds, protected by the high garden walls, provide an array of cut and come again salads and herbs. A wildlife-rich garden provides natural pest control, and the closed-loop composting ensures the plants have healthy soil in which to thrive.

A beautiful greenery shot of the grounds at Baslow Hall, Derbyshire showing various plants and shrubs

A GARDEN FOR ALL SEASONS

 

The year never really begins and ends in the gardens. A constantly changing kaleidoscope of colours and textures. At the turn of the year, the Hellebores and Witch Hazel provide colour and fragrance, with carpets of Snowdrops and Narcissi not long behind. The spring bulbs take over as apple blossom, Wood anemones and the ferns quietly unfurl, setting the scene for the early tulips and cherry blossom. The gardens are home to an abundance of birds. Nuthatches, Goldcrests, Treecreepers, Wrens, and many more fill the gardens with song as summer edges closer. The riot of colour in high summer extends through to the first frosts in the autumn with the Dahlias and Michaelmas daisies. And then the tall grasses, colourful Dogwood stems, join in with the frost-covered Yew domes and pillars in winter to continue the beautiful merry-go-round.

‘We have worked incredibly hard on developing the gardens and how we garden them, and it’s really starting to show’

– Jonathan Race, Head Gardener at Fischer’s Baslow Hall

  

 

Picture of a bench in the grounds of Baslow Hall, Derbyshire. Golden Autumn colours of the trees

a new chapter

In 2020, the gardens started to take a different shape. With the appointment of Jonathan Race as Head Gardener, and a new energy in the kitchen with Nathan Wall as Head Chef, a gentle but important transformation began.

The challenge was to re-energise the gardens and their connection to the kitchen. To better understand their place in the landscape. To realise more of their hidden potential. Plants that ordinarily would have been ‘tidied’ away become foraged ingredients on the menu. Soil health became a priority. Composted green waste from Sheffield city gardens, and used as a mulch, helped to reduce the need for watering in the borders. The composting system was overhauled, rainwater capture was increased. A no-dig system in the kitchen garden was introduced, and more of the produce supplied to the kitchen was grown and harvested on site, reducing food miles and carbon footprint. Any new planting was chosen to increase the diversity of pollinators.

Along with improved sustainability came the revealing of some hidden gems; a lost view of the hall, a secret corner providing the perfect location for a summer house, a careful edit to give a tree or shrub the space to shine.

A garden is never finished. The constant ebb and flow in the life of a garden is one of its joys. But the gardens at Fischer’s Baslow Hall speak a little clearer now, and they invite guests to stay a little longer.