Historic house in Northamptonshire appeals for volunteer gardeners

Kelmarsh Hall. ENGNNL00120130823163455
Kelmarsh Hall. ENGNNL00120130823163455

Garden enthusiasts or those looking to spend more time in the great outdoors are being urged to sign up to become garden volunteers at Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire.

Every Thursday, staff working in the Grade II listed gardens are joined by a team of volunteers who play a vital role in the maintenance of these historic gardens. Now Kelmarsh Hall is looking to extend its volunteer days and is asking members of the public to donate their time on a Tuesday.

Garden volunteers can get involved with all aspects of the programme of maintenance, including planting, weeding, propagation and preparing beds for weeding. There are also special projects to get involved in, such as the Big Bulb Challenge which saw volunteers plant more than 5,000 fritillary bulbs in just two days. Projects such as these allow volunteers to make their mark and they can truly see the fruits of their labour when they return in future years.

Head gardener Josh Coyne said: “Volunteering in the gardens here at Kelmarsh Hall helps to keep you active and there are social benefits too because you’re interacting with people.

“We’ve found this is particularly attractive to people who have recently retired and are looking for that interaction. Our current volunteers say one of the biggest benefits is the physical exercise and spending time outdoors. Most volunteers do a full day but some just do half a day as they need to pick grandchildren up from school or let the dog out, so it can be flexible to fit round other commitments.”

As a charity, the Kelmarsh Trust relies on the income from visitors and events to preserve and maintain the hall and gardens. As such, volunteers play a hugely important role in supporting this and they help to secure this historic building and surrounding gardens for the enjoyment of future generations.

Sue Lees is a retired teacher from Welford who has been a volunteer gardener at Kelmarsh Hall for two years. She said: “I have made some really good friends since I started – we’ve even met up outside of our volunteering at Kelmarsh Hall so for me, the friendship side to it is something I’ve really enjoyed. I’ve met like-minded people, not necessarily the same age, who share a common love of working in a garden and seeing things develop through the seasons.

“Last year, we worked with quite a few younger people and it was lovely seeing their enthusiasm for gardening and meeting people I never would have met otherwise. I have also learnt a lot – working at somewhere like Kelmarsh Hall reminds you of what you should be doing in your own garden at certain times of the year and you learn from the gardeners.”

Anyone who is interested in volunteering at Kelmarsh Hall should contact Carla Cooper on 01604 686543 or email carlacooper@kelmarsh.com. Kelmarsh Hall is located on the Northamptonshire/Leicestershire border, just off Junction 2 of the A14.