It’s blatantly obvious how much I love gardens, especially Cottage Gardens. In my last blog post I discussed the importance of ‘Urban Cottage Gardens’ and how great they are and so much so than Darren Lakin’s urban cottage garden in South Yorkshire. Last weekend I had the absolute pleasure of visiting Darren’s garden. I’ve been a fan of his beautiful space for I’d say the bestpart of a year now. Since I found him on social media, we have regular chats about gardening and brocante. When I was poorly earlier this year Darren regularly asked how I was doing and sent me a lovely gift to help cheer me up, which was ever so thoughtful. I approached Darren for a visit with two minds, as much as I was dying to see the real garden behind his beautiful photgraphs, I also have utmost respect that gardens are a personal space. Luckily for me, I was welcomed so here we are.
When I pulled up at Darren’s I knew right away which home was his. Darren’s style is very country vintage chic and even his home oozes this beautiful charm. I was welcomed in and had a wee chat and a good brew before being invited into the garden.
Walking into the garden was truly magical, Darren is very humble often saying throughout the tour “It’s nothing special, but I like it”. The thing is though his garden is VERY special. It has charm and oodles of Darren’s passion just flowing about the place, every inch of it is tended to with care and love and this shines from it.
My first stop was at his homemade potting bench, which is made from salvaged materials Darren got from a scrap man and then using his craftsmanship skills put together and finished off with vintage décor looking like something featured in The English Garden magazine. There were plant theatres and more décor adorned walls, with Darren’s homemade signs, a plumbed in Belfast sink and I’d only just stepped in and I was in garden heaven.
Next we wondered in to the main garden, where the famous tool shed sits adorned with all its surrounding blooms, it was just as amazing to see in real life and was everything I expected it to be, however the shed did seem a lot smaller than it does in the photographs, but that takes nothing away from gorgeous it is.
The plant combinations were amazing and in true cottage style. Darren were more than happy to disclose some were self seeders and not his doing, again his humble nature shining. In bloom were bright rudbeckias, dahlias, petunias, nepta, fushias, scabious, campanulas, echinops, geraniums, hydrangeas, agastache and loads more. Darren insisted his garden had gone over for the year and that at it’s best is probably late May-June ….. so I guess that’s just an excuse for another visit! However I still thought it was amazing.
As we were about to move round to the Potager, the heavens opened up and we had to take shelter in the greenhouse. In there were chilli’s and tomatoes galore and more of the vintage chic décor, stamping personality on his wonderful growing space.
After the rained died down we ventured in to his potager area, and it was abundant with crops but grown so beautifully they were decoration too. From kale, to lettuce everything was pristine, we harvested the most delicious smelling carrot that was perfect in size and form, if anything Darren is most definitely a gifted grower. His wife takes care of the meals and Darren does the growing from carrot cakes and bakes to yummy savoury dishes, seems it’s not just Darren who’s talented in this household.
Chatting with Darren was like chatting to an old mate I’d not seen in a few years. You just spill out on to each other all the great things you do and have been getting up to in the gardening world and it was fab. I don’t have many real life gardening friends, so when you talk to people with the same passion you get lost in conversation.
One of my main reasons for wanting to visit Darren and his garden was to highlight that real gardens the majority of us have are wonderfully inspiring and whilst they’re not acres worth they are still magnificent and should be celeberated because they’re real!
Thanks for stopping by!
You can find Darren and his garden on
Twitter and Instagram @darrenlakin2
Go give a follow and ask him any questions you’d like to know that I didn’t cover, I’m sure he’d be more than happy to chat to you or just tell him how amazing his garden is!
Great post, great photos and a really nice garden! Thanks for sharing!
This was lovely to read and the photos look very professional. Seeing the whole garden will make seeing his Tweets more intimate now.
You are right to highlight the fact that most of us have normal sized gardens and they are truly wonderful. Let’s celebrate small gardens.
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Thank you Julie for your kind words, us small scale gardeners have a lot to offer! Hopefully next time I’m in London I could visit your beautiful garden too. 😘
Yes definitely – please do
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