Park Hall Paradise

“Can’t we go to Park Hall Gardens? Pleeeeease? It’s the best private garden I’ve been to in years!” This was the constant moan from a few of my class every time it came round to summer garden visiting time. So, in order to shut them up more than anything, I finally and reluctantly relented. After all, it was a long one and a half hour drive away in Chesterfield , and I suspected like a lot of “best ever” things it would be ‘good’ not ‘great’.  ( I feel just like that about Paris, the Mona Lisa, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the film ‘La La Land’, the Rolling Stones in concert etc etc- you can see I’m hard to please…….) So, on a drizzly day we arrived in several cars to a warm welcome and coffee and walnut cake at Park Hall:


The house itself is beautiful and we all got immediate house envy and cricks in our necks from trying to peer in the windows:

The former farmhouse dates from around 1660, and some of the inside features make the  owners, Kim and Margaret Staniforth, think that it might originally have been two properties rather than one.It was the home of the Chesterfield manufacturer, Philip Robinson, from 1911-1937 and it was he who terraced the garden as we see it today. But when the Staniforths arrived the garden was in a crumbling  state so all the walls had to be rebuilt and all the planting redone.


So, in through the garden gate to see what all the fuss was about- and WOW!!!!!!!!


It’s just perfect. The planting, the terracing, the vistas, everything. We stand and exclaim. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been slower to move from a garden gate into the space- there’s so much to see:DSCN3120


This yellow Rosa banksiae lutea on the house wall above a Euphorbia mellifera was just the most gorgeous thing in the garden – a froth of fluffy pompoms of loveliness:



And then we swivelled round to see those layers of terracing rising up around us- where to go first? I abandoned my class and scurried off on my own- I wanted to see all of this NOW!!!DSCN3121DSCN3149DSCN3164DSCN3123

Paths and steps and openings led off in all directions….. I was positively giddy with excitement! Like a child in a sweety shop- OOOOOOH where to go first! Nice planty things everwhere!!


As I scurried around taking it all in, I noticed a few themes going on- always a good sign in a garden. In this case there were lots of masks and figures:


There were plenty of places to sit as well, and all different too. I do think you need lots of seating areas in a garden so that you can enjoy the many views that even the smallest garden can offer. They’re also good for sitting and scoffing secret bags of Maltesers on:DSCN3141DSCN3138DSCN3196DSCN3176DSCN3209

And there was water of course…….


And a dingly dell meadow…..

And then you emerge into this amazing pleached rotunda with shocking blue painted poles, pergola and gazebo- brilliant!



They have a gardener one day a week , training her through the WRAG (Women Returners to Amenity Gardening) scheme which places women in approved private gardens in their locality. They work up to 15 hours a week for a year, in return for practical instruction and a small training allowance, and the Staniforths were pleased to have been considered qualified to take her on. There she is above doing a spot of planting.


The thing that we all marvelled at was how healthy all the planting looked. And how lovely the planting combinations were. Look at these peonies:


And this Osteospermum jucundum was lovely. The garden must be even lovelier when the roses are out. There wasn’t any blackspot in evidence, no greenfly and all the leaves were shiny .Spurred on by several of the class nagging me until I relented, I did manage ask about how they kept everything so healthy. Sadly they said they used chemicals, so as we are totally organic, we won’t be able to replicate that level of perfection. But I’m happy with that, as my baby birds need those greenfly for their breakfasts and dinners!DSCN3205

All too soon it was time to go. A quick look in the potting area, ( a pretty Auricula theatre here) and a few bargains in the plant sales area, before we said goodbye and headed for a nice pub lunch down the road. “Was it worth us bringing you here then Anne? Was it good?” nervously asked one of those who’d suggested it. ” It wasn’t good. It was GREAT!” I replied. And it was.


Park Hall is open on Sunday 25th June and Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd July from 2-5.30pm. Admission £5 to charity. Refreshments.Find them at Park Hall Garden, Walton Back Lane, Chesterfield S42 7LT.


  1. Looks wonderful Anne . Congrats on your Alan T visit also – your place looked amazing so no wonder he was happy. See you soon.


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