Cascades Garden, a garden for Meditation and relaxation in Derbyshire

Cascades Gardens, the Meditation garden, is a peaceful and natural garden to visit in the historic village of Bonsall near Matlock, Derbyshire. Refreshments are available.

Inspired by Japanese gardens and Buddhist philosophy ( see blog post below),Cascades Gardens is a celebration of Nature and an ideal place to immerse yourself in a relaxing and beautiful natural enviroment.

Ideal for garden enthusiasts, plantsmen, come and explore this fascinating garden which originates from the 19th century and surrounds the ruins of a corn mill, with pond and mill race, canal and an old lead mine. Cascades gardens is set on many levels with a new “garden room” and seats around every corner showing perennial flower beds, roses, waterside plantings, alpine and conifer rockeries. There is a great view from the cliff top path. Every season brings new surprises with hosts of snowdrops, hellebores, hostas, daffodils, unusual perennial flowers, shrubs, trees and conifers.

The informal gardens have been designed to blend in with the spectacular natural landscape of rocks, cliffs and woodland.The Bonsall brook runs through the garden and flows over the ruined corn mill and many waterfalls which gives the house it’s name. In the winter the water can be a torrent and in the summer a gentle trickle.

A wide range of plants in the garden are available for sale in the nursery.

Alan Clements, who has been gardening for over 50 years can be booked for Garden Talks. Garden group visits are welcome.


Cascades Gardens, Derbyshire – a haven of peace

derbyshire-gardens-to-visitI bought the Cascades house and the surrounding land in 1996. The idea for the garden began that summer when I visited Eheiji a Zen Buddhist monastery (Temple of Eternal Peace) in the western Alps of Japan. I was only allowed to stay there by agreeing to follow the practices of a Zen priest and found myself in meditation sessions at 4 am daily and in other rituals. Importantly, I was able to view the formal monastery gardens set in woodland. It was a deeply spiritual place. On the way back, down to Kyoto, I visited Daitoku-ji monastery and had green tea with the Abbot. I sat by the famous garden of the sub temple Daisen In. I was greatly inspired by its rocks, representing mountains and raked sand – a river. I always felt that the Cascades had the potential to have the natural calmness and spirituality of these Japanese gardens and in 2015 the new conifer rockery was created with a raked gravel path and rocks rising up to the natural cliff. Continue reading

Cascades Gardens inspired by Japanese Gardens

Daisen Inn, Kyoto, JapanIn the Summer of 1996 in the same year that I bought The Cascades, I visited Kyoto, Japan. I wanted to re-visit one of the most famous and inspiring gardens The Daisen In, at Daitoku-ji Monastery. I arranged to sit with the Abbot at 8.30am to have a tea ceremony and discussion with him on the meditation platform beside the garden. I admired the miniature garden of rocks, raked gravel and miniature trees representing a mountain valley and river going under a stone bridge and was inspired. I was fascinated and my spirit uplifted by the peaceful representation of a mountain valley.

The aim of a Japanese garden is typically to create a representation of nature in which human involvement is concealed and the garden at Daisen In was a superb example.

Cascades Gardens already has a beautiful natural setting of cliffs, stream, waterfalls and woodland. We don’t have to invent nature but try to manage and enhance it. The garden is designed to blend into the natural landscape. Continue reading

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” Continue reading

Hellebore Fortnight
1st – 14th March

Hellebores Gallery 8
    • See our Hellebore collection in flower in the garden. 
  • Hellebores for sale in the nursery.

View our Hellebore Page…
View our Hellebore Gallery…

Garden Opening Times

Garden open to the public everyday from 1st March to 30th September, 10am until 5:00pm 

Last entry 4pm
Group visits welcome. Talks and given.

Adults: £5.00 / Season Tickets: £12.00
Children (under 12): Free

Dogs on a lead are welcome.