The original village Open Gardens in the Peak District returns after a Covid break. Birchover Open Gardens will return on 10 and 11 June for a full weekend of glorious gardens.
Birchover was the first village in the Peak District to have an open garden event. The first open gardens was held to raise money for the village hall and had 12 gardens open to the public with tea and cake sales and a flower display in the village church in the 1970’s.
The inspiration came from the village playgroup who wanted to raise money to put in a kitchen and a watertight floor into the village hall which until then had a dirt floor with floating wood tiles on top. They had already done the obvious fundraisers but then one of their members suggested an open gardens event. She had been to one in the South and thought it really brought together the community and looked like a good money maker. The immediate reaction was “who would want to come and see our gardens?”. The truth was that many, many people wanted to see these gardens – both formal and simple cottage layouts. The first event was a massive success and many other villages have since created their own open gardens each year.
The traditional teas and cakes have grown into more than 20 villagers selling their handcrafted items like woodworking, paintings, jams, breads, plants and local favourites like elderflower champagne which is a big hit on sunny weekends. This year will have a master woodworker and stone mason showing their skills as well as other craft displays for people to get a real hands-on experience of the work put into these craft items.
Historically the Birchover Church was a big part of the Open Gardens weekend. The first year’s flower display at the Church was on the theme of the Wind In The Willows and a river stream was crafted down the central aisle in the church and six different interpretations of Wind In The Willows in flowers could be viewed. In future years and this year there have been village concerts in the church in the evenings of open gardens. Birchover Church is also famous for its stained glass windows. In 1977, a young artist was living in the Old Vicarage next-door to the church. His name is Brian Clarke, now world famous. In 1977 he designed and installed a set of beautiful stained glass windows in Birchover Church which are featured in several books on the works of Brian Clarke.
Today the Birchover Open Gardens is a celebration of a thriving village full of artisans and people with community pride. The event is proudly sponsored by local employers, Barn Farm Campsite and Longcliffe Quarry.
Come and join the oldest continuous open gardens in Derbyshire from 1pm to 5:30pm. Access to more than 20 gardens for £5 for adults and children FOC, combined with free parking makes Birchover Open Gardens a fun affordable event for everyone. Ticket sales and most stalls will be CASH ONLY.