Visiting the garden at Sizergh
Complex and varied, the garden areas at Sizergh are interlinked and together tell the story of this family garden which has developed over 800 years. Explore the Rock Garden, Stumpery and Orchard: home to four national collections of hardy ferns, plus the Dutch Garden, Kitchen Garden and herbaceous border.
The Rock Garden
The Rock Garden was created in the early 20th century and originally planted with acers, conifers and herbaceous perennials. Later on, the garden was further developed and more ferns added. In fact, the garden is home to four national collections of hardy ferns, which can be found in the Stumpery, Rock Garden, Kitchen Garden and orchard.
We recommend viewing the Rock Garden from the bench under the Scots Pine with a cup of coffee. This ancient giant will keep you dry during a light shower or shaded from the sun on a hot day. The mature acers, with their delicately shaped leaves, are another highlight, with their magnificent purple foliage in spring and summer which turns to fiery red and orange in autumn.
The Stumpery opened in 2016 and every spring more than a dozen varieties of miniature daffodils complement the fresh green unfurling fronds of the ferns.
Stumperies were popular in the late-Victorian era when they were seen as a fashionable way to display and grow ferns. Instead of getting rid of old tree stumps, they were arranged artistically and ferns, lichen and moss were encouraged to grow on and around them. Beyond the Stumpery the daffodils continue in the border, part of a varied display of spring shrubs and perennials.
You'll find over 65 varieties of apple tree in the orchard, including many northern varieties. Harvesting begins in August with early varieties, and continues until the end of October. The harvest is used in the café or offered to visitors to take home in exchange for a small donation. Surplus fruit and vegetables are donated to Waste into Wellbeing, a local charity that provides meals for the community. Experience the cloud like blossom in spring, the carpet of wild meadow under the trees in summer, and ripe fruit in early autumn.
Fresh produce in the Kitchen Garden
The ethos of self-sufficiency has always been important to the Strickland family and continues to be so to this day. Head Gardener Susan Rowley creates combinations of vegetables and flowers that are not only productive, but also beautiful, culminating in a colourful display.
Just as the Stricklands would have grown fruit and vegetables to be used in their kitchen, today’s produce is supplied directly to the café on a daily basis.
Many of the vegetables and flowers you see in the Kitchen Garden started life in the greenhouse; there’s always a variety of seedlings in there at any one time. Charlie the garden cat loves it in there because it's so warm, but he has a tendency to lie on the seedlings and crush them, so watch out if he tries to sneak in behind you.
There’s always something blooming in the 50m-long herbaceous border. The tennis court shelter is a quiet spot to look out over the border and lawn. It's on your left as you come through the Kitchen Garden and into the Rock Garden.
The Fruit Wall
The Fruit Wall measures 60m and is built from limestone, faced with red brick to absorb the sun’s heat, which helps to ripen the fruit. The apsidal niche at the end of the wall is an ornate sheltered spot that gives great views of the Solar Tower – the oldest part of the castle – and to the fells beyond.
Gardening for wildlife
The garden is home to lots of wildlife. Sunny embankments with wildflowers are the perfect habitat for bank voles and solitary bees, whilst shaded woodland areas are favourite spaces for hedgehogs. Pools and bog areas in the Rock Garden are alive with newts, frogs and toads, and small holes in walls and trees are the perfect place for black caps and pied flycatchers to nest. A dozen bird boxes are also positioned throughout the garden.
The Dutch garden
Open from April through to October, the Dutch garden is arguably the most peaceful part of the garden, and the ideal place for a meditative moment away from the crowds. The patches of long grass and flowers are home to a host of insects and butterflies and if you look up, you get a great view of the Solar Tower above you.
The summerhouse at the end of this area of the garden is a cosy sanctuary when it's wet and a great place for a quiet read - find a new book in the second-hand bookshop.
Take a piece of the garden away with you
You can take a little memento of Sizergh home with you from the garden plant donation stall: vegetables and fruit are available when they're in season, along with bunches of sweet peas. All have been lovingly grown at Sizergh by the team of dedicated garden staff and volunteers.
Connect with nature in Sizergh’s woodland, wetland and farmland. Find out about the wildlife you can spot while exploring this 1,600-acre estate.
Can we tempt you to afternoon tea in the café, a new pair of gardening gloves from the shop or a pre-loved book during your visit to Sizergh?
Sizergh is a two pawprint rated place. Find out which areas of the estate you can explore with your dog.
Find out what to see in the house at Sizergh, including the Strickland family’s large collection of items spanning 26 generations and the renowned Elizabethan Inlaid Chamber.
Whether you’re after a wild play area to let little legs run off some steam, a peaceful garden for a pram-friendly walk, or a children’s trail through a house filled with treasures, there’s something for all ages at Sizergh.
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