14. Derbyshire – Tuesday 7 July

Renishaw Hall, Renishaw
Mr and Mrs Richard Hayward

The Sitwells built Renishaw in the 1620s, originally an H-shaped Jacobean house, latter Sitwells enlarged it. Sitwell Sitwell built the stables, gothicised the house, and added the drawing room and ball room, the latter containing, amongst other treasures, Salvator Rosa’s stupendous painting of Belisarius, acquired by Osbert Sitwell from Raynham Hall in Norfolk in the 1920s. Sir George Sitwell, dividing his time between Derbyshire and Italy, commissioned a billiard room from Lutyens and, himself, designed the magnificent garden to the south of the house. This is Italianate gardening at its very best. Yew hedges divide the garden into intimate sheltered spaces, restrainedly adorned with statues and vases and planted with remarkably tender shrubs and perennials. Beyond the final water jet and across the ha-ha the Sitwells boast that one can see Hardwick Hall “with the eye of faith.” We will be given a tour of the house before exploring the garden.

Culland Hall, Ashbourne
Mr and Mrs Simon Thompson

The four-acre garden at Culland Hall is almost entirely the creation of Lucy Thompson, who has created it around the comfortable late-1930s house, built by her father-in-law on the site of an earlier house. The view across a shallow valley, with lake and woodlands, is perfect and, as the garden steps down from the house in terraces, nothing       is obscured. Borders are filled with long-flowering perennials and balanced by the strong structure of box and yew hedging and lovely old garden buildings, contemporary with the earlier house. Vistas urge one from one delightful space to another: a box-hedged rose garden, double borders with great billowing masses of Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’, a woodland and fern garden and a long rose pergola, underplanted by peonies, in the kitchen garden.

Rectory House, Kedleston
Helene, Viscountess Scarsdale

The handsome, red-brick rectory at Kedleston, standing on the edge of the park, may have been designed by Samuel Wyatt, clerk of works at that time to Robert Adam, who was rebuilding the big house at Kedleston for Nathaniel Curzon, the 1st Lord Scarsdale. It is possible that Adam himself designed the elegant south façade with its gently-recessed arch. Some of the planting dates from this period, but the present, delightfully informal, woodland garden is the work of the present incumbent, Helene Scarsdale. An open lawn has a Cumbrian slate sphere as a focal point and this leads on into the woodland garden, planted with Rhododendrons and Azaleas for the spring, followed by roses and other flowering shrubs. The edges of a large pond, in the centre are softened with Primulas, Gunnera and Darmera.