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Barnsdale Advisory Service

Want all year round colour in your garden but don't know where to start?

Need advice on planting schemes or projects for a small garden?

Looking to create a vegetable plot to feed you and your family?

Ask Barnsdale Gardens Advisory Service!


The Barnsdale Gardens’ Advisory Service is a natural extension of the practical advice and ideas that have been given to visitors over the past 25 years. During this time, Nick Hamilton has led a range of successful classes at Barnsdale but felt the time was right to offer his expertise to a wider audience on a more personal basis. The new service will enable garden owners to have their own particular gardening challenges addressed using an on-site consultation process.

Nick HamiltonWith a sound base of formal horticultural training and vast practical experience, not to mention learning from his father, Geoff Hamilton, the greatest television gardener, Nick is exceptionally well qualified to lead Barnsdale’s new Advisory Service. His passion for gardening began at an early age and is as strong today as ever.

Nick took over the running of Barnsdale Gardens when Geoff died and continues to drive its development. While the Gardens have moved on, Nick has remained true to Geoff’s ideology; ensuring that whatever is done with the individual gardens they are always relevant to what visitors may have, or want to achieve in their gardens at home.

The wide range of courses on offer at Barnsdale, aimed primarily at amateur gardeners, continues to grow. These courses complement the Advisory Service to give people even more choice when acquiring the knowledge they need to develop their own gardens. The following list illustrates just some of the areas covered by the courses, and provides a useful checklist of topics for those wishing to use the more personal Advisory Service:

Vegetable and Fruit Production

  • Planning a vegetable garden
  • Planning a fruit garden
  • Soil preparation
  • Growing vegetables and fruit organically
  • Cropping plans
  • Crop rotation
  • Soil and crop fertility requirements
  • Organic vegetable growing
  • Cultural advice
  • Greenhouse and polythene tunnel crops
  • On-going seasonal advice
  • Storing vegetables and fruit for winter use
  • Planting fruit
  • Training fruit
  • Fruit pruning – tree and/or soft fruitOrnamental vegetable plot
  • Pest and disease – organic prevention and/or control
  • Compost bins and composting
  • Water butts and homemade liquid feed

Ornamental Garden

  • Propagating plants
  • Pruning shrubs
  • Getting the best from perennials
  • Requirements and varieties of alpine plants
  • Getting the best from climbers – varieties, planting and after-care
  • Trees and shrubs suitable for all sized gardens
  • Plants for seasonal interest
  • Plants for specific places – shade, dry, damp, bog gardens, etc
  • Organic gardening

Garden Care and Maintenance

  • Lawn care
  • Soil preparation and maintenance
  • Attracting and looking after wildlife
  • Looking after ponds and/or water features
  • Hedges – varieties, planting and trimming
  • Maintaining a greenhouse

Costs for Barnsdale’s new Advisory Service are £100 for a 2 hour consultation (within a 30 mile radius of Barnsdale Gardens) and £200 for a 2 hour consultation beyond that distance. For any work carried out after the initial consultation the cost will be £65 per hour plus travelling expenses. These rates apply to consultations and work carried out within England. Any enquiries outside the country can be quoted on an individual basis.

Barnsdale Gardens, The Avenue, Exton, Oakham, Rutland LE15 8AH. | Tel: 01572 813 200 | Email: