About the garden
With glorious views over Windermere to the fells beyond, Holehird Gardens repays a visit at any time of the year. Originally landscaped in Victorian times, the current gardens were created and are maintained entirely by volunteers from the Lakeland Horticultural Society. The Society's aim is to 'promote and develop the science, practice and art of horticulture, particularly with regard to the conditions prevailing in the Lake District'. Those conditions include an exposed site with neutral-to-acid soil in a cool, wet climate, compensated by the superb fellside setting and extensive views.
The highlight for many visitors is the walled garden, with its splendid herbaceous borders and island beds, all enclosed by the original Victorian wall. Beyond the walled garden, visitors can explore the wide range of planting conditions presented by the site, and the plants chosen to suit those conditions. These range from the thin soil of the rock and scree gardens to the streamside beds with their moist, sometimes boggy, conditions. Plants that flourish at Holehird include alpines, rhododendrons and azaleas, camellias, magnolias, heathers, bulbs (especially snowdrops, cyclamen and wild daffodils), gentians, hostas, meconopsis and ferns. Varieties of hydrangeas and roses, not usually expected to thrive in Lakeland conditions, have been carefully selected to demonstrate that, by choosing the right varieties, it is still possible to grow them.
Holehird hosts National Collections of Astilbe, Dabeocia, Meconopsis and Polystichum, all at their best at different times of year. Visitor reception is manned by LHS volunteers from Easter to the end of October, for information and the sale of publications and hot drinks. The gardens are open year round – there is always something worth seeing, whatever time of year you visit Holehird.