Greatest Gardens Week 2
Week 2 – Cannon Hall, Cawthorne, South Yorkshire
Weather – Overcast
Recession, huh, what recession? Are the words you say to yourself as you drive through the entrance to Cannon Hall and observe as the entire population of Yorkshire fights for spaces in the ever expanding car park. Luckily for me though, this mass swarm of Yorkshire folk is not there for the gardens, they are there for the farm shop and café, so as they all swoop down on an organic lasagne, I casually slip off to check out the gardens.
Set in mature parkland extending to around 70 acres, Cannon Hall surveys its surroundings through unobstructed views of South Yorkshire and the fast flowing river that defines its boundary. Having grown up not more than five miles away, Cannon Hall was definitely my old stomping ground, I played sports there, walked there and I even tried to impress a girl with a picnic there (Hasten to say, the relationship didn’t last!). But as always, the gardens seemed to pass me by, you see, the section of garden that I’m about to describe is behind a huge wall (It’s a walled garden) and one can easily walk straight passed it, especially if you’ve got a romantic picnic on your mind! Once in, you feel that you’ve gone back in time, old green houses and potting sheds are in various states of repair and all of which adds tremendous character to the space. Along the boundary wall is a fantastic array of espaliered fruit trees which include the largest collection of pear varieties in England and they all look as if they have been given specific instructions to not let the wall fall in on the rest of the garden, and they’re doing a pretty good job too! The garden isn’t the traditional square or rectangular shape either, it looks as if it has grown as organically as the planting it harbours around the traditional farm buildings and what was once the estate manager’s cottage.
The planting is a mix of herbaceous borders and kitchen garden favourites, with a few water plants which soften the edges of the ornamental pond and gives it a real vitality. But it is the fruit trees that really stand out for me, with all the different varieties from plums to cherries and apples to pears; you would have your very own fruit salad!
As with many gardens, there is much more to see at Cannon Hall than I can write about here, so it is definitely worth a trip, but I will just issue this one warning to the ladies, beware of cheesy chat up lines during picnics!
Bye for now