3 Good Reasons to visit Scampston Hall Gardens

3 Good Reasons to visit Scampston Hall Gardens

by Daniel Carruthers


First stop was the Garden Restaurant, with floor to ceiling glazing looking out onto the gardens, for a slice of cake and a coffee.

Finding Scampston Hall Gardens couldn’t be any easier, thanks in part to the straight Roman roads. Doing a little homework by visiting their informative website will ensure you’re well briefed on the history, concept and location of Scampston. There’s good car parking facilities close to the walled garden and a well staffed and stocked restaurant.  The concept of going  from room to room within the garden might draw comparison to trip around Ikea. Fortunately there were no signs of arguing parents, the loudest noise came from the drifts of molinia, by the thousand, catching the breeze. And no, meatballs weren’t on the menu. It’s hard to believe that it has been 17 years since the walled garden was conceived, the planting now seems as up to date as any of the gardens at this years Chelsea Flower Show.  Today the plants are firmly rooted within the old walls, mature and well established.

Here’s 3 good reasons that you should visit Scampston :

  • 1. To admire the Planting by Piet Oudolf

Weird and wonderful – Actaea alba


Euphorbia Mellifera and Tetrapanax papyrifer – a fabulous jungle plant combination that is clearly hardy enough for the UK.


Signature planting of Piet Oudolf – still looking fabulous in the transition to Autumn


Neatly trimmed buxus centrally with sedums and grasses in the borders


View of The Serpentine garden from ‘The Mount’.

  • 2. For Inspiration
pear tree

The gate to the vegetable garden looking from the cut flower garden


The newly furnished Greenhouse at Scampston – all set ready for Spring.

  • 3. To enjoy the Landscaping by Capability Brown
capability brown

Of course there’s the classic landscaping of Capability Brown surrounding the Hall too.


Majestic Spanish Sweet Chestnut set against clear blue skies

With views straight out of a period drama  you should not leave Scampston without taking a leisurely stroll around the grounds, landscaped by Capability Brown. It’s very easy to work up an appetite for a hearty lunch at the Garden Restaurant, a perfect end to a lovely visit.

Storing Summer Sunshine

Storing Summer Sunshine

Despite the blight, I’m still picking tomatoes from the survivors, as well as from the greenhouse crop which remains in good shape.  There are only so many tomato salads and sandwiches we can manage to eat, so every few days I am slow roasting the surplus in olive oil with herbs, garlic and seasoning, to freeze  for winter eating.  They are spread in a single layer on a baking sheet, put into a moderate oven and roasted until they start to char and caramelise.  Then they are left to cool in a bowl before putting them through a mouli mill to remove the skins, seeds and stalks. At this stage I check the flavour and if it is not quite intense enough I will reduce it down a bit before freezing it.  Today’s glut is winter’s delight.

oven roasted tomatoes

Dahlia Rescue

Dahlia Rescue


Rip City, my favourite dahlia, was obliterated in the border by the slugs, so it has been dug up and potted up into several pots where the rescued tubers are putting on healthy leaf. I will cosset them  through the autumn and keep them undercover for the winter so that I don’t have to do without them next year.dahlia

Meanwhile, a visit to Sarah Raven’s garden, Perch Hill (open in aid of our local hospice) was awash with glorious dahlias.  It did make me wonder if I was wasting my time growing them in my generally too shady garden, but I suspect that optimism will prevail and I will have another go.dahlia dahlia dahlia dahlia

A Bit of Garden History

Back in the 17th century, canals became a must-have addition to the fashionable gardens of the day. There’s some discussion amongst garden historians about whether they were inspired by Dutch canals, but as the century included the reign of William of Orange this seems quite likely. Smaller gardens – without space for something so grand – would often include what was called a Dutch Garden. This would feature a formal pond surrounded by beds of spring bulbs, or sometimes irises.
I bring you this historical nugget because we have just returned from visiting friends who have just such a canal in their garden. The grand house that accompanied it has long gone, but this impressive feature is the centrepiece of a garden that is redolent with history. When they first arrived the canal was a carpet of waterlilies with no water to be seen – now it is restored to close to its former glory.canal featurewater lillies