About the garden
The Kelmarsh Trust
Kelmarsh Hall is an elegant Palladian house built in 1732. Set in the glorious Northamptonshire countryside, it is surrounded by highly-regarded gardens which are the work of three of the 20th century's most remarkable taste-makers and garden designers; Nancy Lancaster (the American 'doyenne of English country house style' who once co-owned the famous interior decorating firm Colefax and Fowler), Norah Lindsay (garden designer of her day who was influenced by the work of Gertrude Jekyll and Vita Sackville-West) and Geoffrey Jellicoe (the influential landscape architect).
Snowdrops, snake's head fritillaries, tulips, peonies and old roses each have their moment of glory, constantly being revamped with fresh plantings that evoke the spirit of Nancy Lancaster's first English garden. A formal terrace and horse chestnut avenues lead down to a lake, creating views to the rolling countryside beyond. From the sophisticated pastels of the sunken garden, via a traditional double border and two rose gardens, through to the dramatic colour of the long border, the garden leads the visitor on a tour around the perimeter of a triangular walled garden.
The walled garden, now revived, is full of vibrant flower borders, cutting flowers, fruit and veg, and a fine collection of dahlias that are at their best in September when the special dahlia festivals take place.
Nancy Lancaster wrote of Norah's influence on her planting style, and Kelmarsh Hall and Gardens is the only place open regularly to the public that celebrates this amalgam of two talented but under-recognised women designers of the 20th century.