The gardens at John Clare Cottage are maintained by our group of willing volunteers. They consist of a herb garden, together with a fruit bed, a vegetable patch, a flowering herbacious border and an orchard.

The plants are varities that would have been around in the time of John Clare. We also have our own bee hive and have successfully produced our own honey which, when available, can be purchased in the Cottage Shop.


The cottage garden may be enjoyed throughout the year.  It is maintained entirely by our team of enthusiastic volunteer gardeners.

The upper area, designed by garden historian Richard Donoghue includes mixed native hedging, gravel paths, dry stone walls and metal archways dividing the garden into flowery arbours, herbaceous areas (planted with varieties which would have been familiar to John Clare), and productive areas where fruits, vegetables and herbs are grown to be used in the cottage cafe.   There are mature fruit trees, including a magnificent Mirabelle gage, apples and pears, and also some newly planted apple trees such as the wonderfully named Peasgood’s Nonsuch.

The lower garden incorporates an adapted version of Adam Frost’s Gold Medal winning design for RHS Chelsea 2012.  Entitled The Rural Muse, the garden was inspired by John Clare’s walks in the countryside surrounding the village of Helpston; a broad path winds between mature apple and pear trees, areas of traditional meadow, tall grasses and seasonal flowering plants including euphorbia, aquilegia, irises, foxgloves, alchemilla mollis and hardy geraniums.  Large rocks surrounding a hollow and firepit create a natural amphitheatre;  a reminder of the times John Clare spent playing ‘fiddle’ with the gipsies at their traditional encampments, such as the one at nearby Langley Bush.

Caroline Desbruslais (volunteer gardener and beekeeper)


Cottage Weather for the past month

 September 2015September 2014                                 
Highest Temp23.4 Deg C24.7 Deg C
Lowest Temp3.9 Deg C5.4 Deg C
Rainfall  28.6 mm1.6 mm
Max Wind Speed19 mph18 mph