Cascades Gardens. A celebration of nature- beautiful and soothing

When I get a Trip Advisor review of the garden that claims that my garden is average and that I have weeds in the garden, I realise how much we all have a different view of gardening.I have long since vowed that I would never have a lawn that showed perfectly cut edges or lawn mower stripes, and always said that I would make the most of flowering weeds. Cascades Gardens Spring 1

Tulips at cascades entrance April 2016.  There is nothing average about the unique landscape of the 4 acre Cascades Gardens. With an 80 foot cliff, streams, canal and pond and an acre of wild woodland- of course it has weeds!. Actually the woodland has a fabulous array of red, white and blue wild flowers and plants at the moment (campian,foreget me not and buttercup included) which looks beautiful.

Yesterday we had a gardening group  from Alveston on a garden tour of Derbyshire. All were passionate experienced gardeners that had been to many of the gardens in Britain. They were all saying the same thing. “We have visited Chatsworth, Renishaw and Hardwick Hall gardens and this is the best garden we have seen on our trip.It is natural and doesn’t look as if someone famous has designed it. It is understandable to us with plants we feel comfortable with, and plantings that we can do in our own garden”

This made me question what I have created here after 20 years at The Cascades?

Tulips at cascades entranceCascades Gardens is perhaps the antidote to the smart and manicured stately home gardens we all visit so often. It is a celebration of nature in all it’s aspects, plants, trees, wildlife, rocks and water.At Cascades we mange but don’t try to control Nature.As Monty Don once said “If you try to control Nature you spoil it”.The site is interesting, historic with a spectacular landscape and as one visitor once pointed out “It would be worth looking at even if there were no flowers”. What I am trying to do is blend the natural with the cultivated, and plant into the rocky landscape and old stone walls so that the transition between the two is seemless. Inspired by the monastery gardens of Kyoto, Japan and the gardens of Hidcote Manor, Bressingham and Great Dixter, I have tried to create a landscape that had all of nature going on- every month of the year weeds and all!.

Today we had a Danish lady called Thuri visit our B&B and garden (26th May 2016). She left a very interesting comment:

“Beautiful and soothing garden with gifts for your eyes in every corner- and every sight shows you Nature is the great creator of harmony and balance.”

I think she summed it up beautifully.

Alan Clements 26th June 2016