"a whispering of leaves and perfume of flowers always pervaded the rooms"
Charlotte Brontë, on visiting 84 Plymouth Grove
The Garden then
The Gaskells were attracted to the house in Plymouth Grove because it was on the edge of town with a large garden which the whole family could enjoy. There was space to grow flowers and vegetables, and it had the added attraction of a paddock where they could keep a cow, a pig and poultry. Maps and written sources of the time indicate that, when the Gaskells took up residence in 1850, it was a typical villa garden of the period.
The Garden now
The garden is reduced to an area immediately around the house. Its plan is based on the original layout whilst accommodating modern needs. Volunteer gardeners have created what you see today. They have used period plants where possible, with particular reference to Elizabeth Gaskell's writings, and the garden will continue to evolve.
Fernery - an informal area of native ferns and shade-loving plants.
Front Garden - a collection of hollies interspersed with shrubs, herbaceous plants and seasonal bedding.
A rustic fence and gate lead to The Long Border, a variety of small trees, flowering shrubs and perennials chosen with scent in mind.
Rear Wall - covered with climbers and with spring bulbs planted beneath.
Pergola - covered in roses and clematis.
Steps - a collection of pots with a changing display.
Vegetable and Fruit Plots - two small areas dedicated to period varieties.
Image credit: Simon Challis
Image credit: Chris Tucker