Winter gardens at Calke Abbey
Calke's winter gardens are open every day from 9.30am. Discover a vibrant and productive walled garden, wander through faded glasshouses and marvel at Calke's fascinating garden buildings.
A sleeping winter garden
Despite the crisp winter weather, there's still plenty to see in Calke's gardens this season. As you wander through the walled gardens, look out for pops of winter colour – you'll find an array of berries, rose hips, holly and rowan. Follow your nose to find Wintersweet in the Pleasure Grounds, and look out for the witch hazel starting to flower.
The gardeners are currently busy preparing the vegetable beds for spring, and you might see them at work during your visit. We're using the 'no dig' method, which involves adding a thick layer of mulch to the top of the beds rather then digging them over, as this is better for the soil structure and increases crop yield.
Faded grandeur in the glasshouses
Calke’s walled gardens are home to several glasshouses. Peep through the windows in the Flower Garden and Physic garden, or wander through the glorious Orangery to experience the faded grandeur of Calke's gardens. This is where exotic species were historically grown for both the table and display.
Several of the glasshouses have undergone vital conservation in recent years to keep them watertight. We're hoping to do more more conservation in the Vinery and Peach House soon, so that we can preserve these stunning pieces of history for generations to come.
Gardener's buildings and bothy
To get a real sense of Calke's historic working garden, don't forget to peek inside the Gardener's Bothy, where you'll find a vast collection of garden tools, pots and broken cloches. It's a gardener's heaven!
Calke's garden was once an industrial hub, and you can still see the remnants of the historic heating systems today in the back sheds and Stove House. You may find that some sheds are closed off during the winter – this is so that we can protect areas of the garden from heavy footfall during the wetter months.
Did you know there are a series of tunnels beneath Calke's gardens? One of these tunnels leads from the back sheds under the Pleasure Grounds, and was built so that the gardeners could go about their work without being seen from the house. The tunnel is currently open for you to explore – but it's quite low, so mind your head!
A welcome place for walkies
Well-behaved dogs are now welcome in the gardens throughout winter, so you can explore more of Calke without leaving your four-legged friends out.
Please make sure that dogs are on short leads, and don’t forget to scoop that poop – it helps us keep Calke’s gardens clean for all visitors to enjoy.