Pick Your Own flowers at Manor Farm Gardens


It has become an annual tradition for us to visit the wonderful walled gardens of Clarey and Barney at Manor Gardens near Darlington. My parents live in Teesdale so each summer we take a short road trip to the PYO gardens and enjoy a day out picking bouquets of flowers. We look forward to it every time and it’s so nice to see how the place is growing with more collections of flowers, beautiful seasonal events and many more people visiting.

The cutting garden is central within the walls of the estate. There is a specific section for an array of sweet peas and next to that stand proudly the dahlias of every single shape and colour. On the far side of the garden are the rest of the flowers — each one prettier than the next and Clarey knows the name of them all. It’s such a delight just being with Clarey to hear her enthusiasm of growing British flowers and supplying them for weddings and events is a joy. This place is as beautiful as in The Secret Garden book.


Each time we arrive, Clarey scoops the children up (she is a trained primary teacher and has the patience of a saint) and shows them how to cut flowers and which ones to look out for as they are in the prime. Because each one is at a cost and because Florence just loves snipping we put her on the sweet peas and tell her to collect a bunch of twenty for Grandma. It was the perfect solution and once she had her bouquet she held on to them so lovingly.

Helena was in charge of the dahlias and cut a delightful bunch. They are my favourite so I put her onto those as I knew Clarey would have none left if I was to collect them. I on the otherhand, spent my time near the cornflowers and the other delights and made myself a little bouquet perfect for the kitchen table.

When the kids have collected their flowers there’s plenty of space in the bell tent to make a start on the picnic or if the weather’s not behaving, then there’s always the vintage caravan they are permanently parked up.




PYO days are on set dates during the summer time and they have also their ‘Sweet Pea Sundays’. You’ll find them open from July 23rd to mid-September this year. To keep up to date on their other events such as the delightful supper clubs, it’s best to subcribe to their newsletter . And as Manor Gardens is growing watch out for their special events such a wreath making or flower crown making and they’re open for private events in the garden too. Wouldn’t it be dreamy for a kids flower party or even for my own birthday for that matter! This is definitely a place to bookmark for a road trip up North.

Vanessa x

PS Clarey provides the scissors but it’s always best to bring a bucket and fill it with water to keep the flowers fresh with the journey home!



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