When the Cottage was restored in 2004 to the centre we have today, the gardens were redesigned for easy access. The varieties of plants selected are of the period of Clare following advice from garden experts.
There are three main areas in the gardens for you to explore during your visit to the Cottage. The first contains a selection of herbs around the courtyard which also contains a life size statue of John Clare.
The second area is made up of three beds, the first represents a traditional cottage garden with the colours changing with the seasons. Starting with Spring Daffodils, Snowdrops and Crocuses. The colours change as the year progresses with the main flowers changing to include Aquilegia, Alliums, Foxgloves, Hollyhocks and Michaelmas Daisies. There are seats where you can relax in the peaceful surroundings.
The other two sections of this area contain fruit and vegetables the produce of which are used in the Café.
The third area, in the lower garden was originally an orchard, and some of the older fruit trees are still growing in the garden. The design of this part of the gardens has been changed following the success of garden architect, Adam Frost, at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2012 where he won a Gold Medal with a design based upon Clare’s life and surroundings – The Rural Muse. Parts of the hard landscaping were transferred from Chelsea and installed in the gardens in 2013, Adam then provided advice as to the planting of the borders, the contents of which were also brought up from Chelsea. It is now established and adds to the garden experience.
All of the gardens are maintained by an enthusiastic group of volunteers, any of whom, if they are on duty, are happy to talk with you about the gardens as you walk around the borders.