There will be few gardens as full of statues, temples, water features and other ornaments as one particular plot of land surrounding a manor house in East Haddon, Northamptonshire.
The garden in question belongs to the company Haddonstone and, as well as being regarded as a beautiful garden in its own right, it features as many of the business’s stone- crafted ornaments as possible.
Yet, walking around Haddonstone’s show gardens, which will be opened as part of the National Gardens Scheme on September 1 and 2 (10am-5pm), the grounds feel very much a real garden.
The show garden’s last opening for NGS, in May this year, made £1,240 for charity.
Marketing director, Simon Scott, said: “Haddonstone was established in 1971 by Bob Barrow as a family business and it is still a family business; the chairman is David Barrow, the son of the founder.
“The simple term for what we do is garden ornaments and architectural cast stone and that means anything from planters, statues and bird baths to the architectural side of things.”
Haddonstone manufactures its cast products in Brixworth and now has its main bases in Northamptonshire and Pueblo, Colorado, exporting all over the world.
And exporting heavy temples and other garden structures to places such as Japan is no easy task.
This year the company won the GIMA (Garden Industry Manufacturers’ Association) Export Achievement Award.
One of the most expensive projects cost more than £1 million and was carried out in the Middle East.
Simon said: “What we are exporting is pretty heavy duty stuff and we have to make sure it arrives unchipped and is packaged well.
“We have done projects all over the world. We added it up and it came to more than 30 countries.”
Some of the ornaments and architectural work carried out has been for some famous locations. One fountain which now stands in the show garden is a replica of a creation made for Eton College.
The college contacted Haddonstone to create a copy of their old fountain which was too badly eroded to be used any longer.
Simon said: “We have done work at Cowarth Park, the Dorchester’s new hotel, we have also done work at National Trust properties.
“We have also had a major involvement in the Chelsea Flower Show. The last time we were there was 2003-2004 when we created some show gardens. We have also done trade stands there with special landscape features, like folles, and recreated famous gardens from around the world. What we are planning for next year’s show is under wraps.”
Haddonstone’s show gardens are based around Forge House, where the Barrow family still lives, and are made up of a labyrinth of sections including – to name just a few – a Roman-style swimming pool, a contemporary garden, a gothic garden and a green corridor decorated with classical busts.
The garden is also a showcase in how best to display garden ornaments; something many gardeners still struggle with.
NGS entry to the show gardens is £2.50 for adults, which goes towards charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care and Help the Hospices.