Gardening: A Family Affair
Just outside Wragby is a hidden paradise of herbaceous perennials and woodland walks. The oasis of greenery – a rare find after the scorching weather we’ve had this year – is Goltho Gardens, a family project for Debbie Hollingworth, her husband, sister and parents…
We’ve had several weeks of constant sun, not a single drop of water, and a hose pipe ban is looming as I write this. Therefore, I had my worries when visiting Goltho Gardens just outside of Wragby, expecting scorched lawns and bleached borders.
I was pleasantly surprised to find an oasis of greenery, borders bursting with colour and a very happy family pleased with their small utopia.
Debbie Hollingworth was born and bred in Lincolnshire but moved to her current location with her family – parents Liz and Ken Rashby, sister Leslie Burton and husband Sean Hollingworth – 20 years ago. They had their work cut out for them with several barns to convert and a house nearly in ruin, in addition to four acres of garden, and part of a field that was still growing crops.
“We bought the barns with a vision of turning the site into a garden, nursery and tea shop,” says Debbie. “But we needed to work on converting the barns first and making our homes more habitable!”
The family made Goltho Gardens their home after nearly two years of working on the house, and Debbie had started to work on the gardens, planning and planting and laying border hedging.
“There wasn’t an awful lot to work with. We worked towards the house rather than from the house, as the field that once had crops growing in it had been newly ploughed.”
Debbie had a vision of a long vista leading away from the house, so she could enjoy the full extent of the garden from her window, as well as a rose garden and a flower meadow.
All her plans started to fall in place as the family came together to complete the work; her sister managed the tea shop from one of the barns, her husband worked on the hard-structural work like building and landscaping, her father was in control of general maintenance like mowing and strimming, while she worked with her mother on planning the garden itself.
“The gardens are nearly complete; we focus more on keeping them tidy at the moment while we’re welcome visitors and potting in the nursery.”
The garden centres around the long vista, but there is so much more to this garden than meets the eye as you delve deeper into the shrubbery.
Along the central lawn, you’ll find wide herbaceous borders that lead to a prairie garden, that was being maintained by two ladies who come to Goltho Gardens weekly on my visit.
If you follow the path past the prairie garden, you will reach the rose garden and the peony garden in full bloom at the moment and smelling beautiful.
Keep walking along the main lawn and you’ll reach the bottom of the garden which was once a field.
The wildflower meadow can be found at this end of the garden just over a small bridge, and a wooded area. On the way back, you’ll pass the autumn garden which will be in full swing by the time Pride goes to press.
This leads to the nut walk and eventually to the winter garden, ensuring there is always something of interest throughout the year.
One of the best areas of Goltho Gardens though has to be the ponds. There is a wonderful decking area used as a viewing point with seating to show off the lily pads covering the surface, the butterflies and dragonflies dancing across them and the willow trees flowing gently in the breeze above. It’s the ‘magical’ part of the garden that reminds you of an Alice in Wonderland scene or a painting in a fairy tale.
But all of the garden is magical and truly worth seeing. With four acres for you to walk around and enjoy, and different areas dedicated to different times of the year – plus a tea room and nursery to visit before you leave – it makes a great day out in autumn.
“Visitors will be able to see an abundance of asters and cyclamens at this time of year, and we get a lot of autumn colour,” says Debbie. “We also have an opening for the National Gardens Scheme in September so it’s a great time to visit and see Goltho Gardens for yourself.”
Goltho Gardens near Wragby:
Open Day: The gardens are open for the National Gardens Scheme on 23rd September.
Opening Hours: The garden and tea shop are open 10am till 4pm Wednesday to Sunday and Bank Holidays throughout the year.
Find Out More: Call the family on 01673 857768 or visit the website www.golthogardens.com. They’re on Lincoln Road near Wragby LN8 5NF.