Derby City Council began the collection in 1984 and since April 2010 it has been maintained by the Friends of Darley Open Spaces (FoDOS) in partnership with Derby City Council. Our Hydrangea collection is the largest in Britain and the third largest in the world. It now holds over 430 different types and the collection is still growing.
A third of the collection can be viewed all year in the gardens near the café. The remaining part of the collection is held within a walled garden which is opened to the public between July and October when the flowers are at their most flamboyant. Conducted tours are available on the annual Open Day held in early August each year.
So, why collect hydrangeas? There is a risk that new hydrangea cultivars, if they are not popular with nurseries and garden centres or the buying public, will disappear. Darley Park’s walled garden is a place where they can be preserved. Our Hydrangea paniculata (the ones with the cone shaped flowers) collection is registered with Plant Heritage formed in conjunction with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) which has over 600 national collections. We are working towards having a full collection of all known paniculata cultivars but will be adding other significant and endangered cultivars of the whole hydrangea genus.
Where are we? The collection is housed in the gardens of Darley Abbey Park in the village of Darley Abbey just north of Derby. The park is owned by Derby City Council, and is beautifully landscaped. It has toilets, a children’s play area and a very nice cafe. Map. (ignore the ‘you are here’ pointer!)
Nearest Post Codes for Sat Nav’s: Upper Car Park = DE22 1EN (entry via Daley Park Drive only) Lower Car Park = DE22 1DX (All vehicles and contents left at the owners risk)
Hydrangea Derby hasn’t, at the moment, the resources to propagate plants so isn’t in a position to provide plants for sale and because of plant breeder rights are not able to offer cuttings. We would direct you to the Plant Finder to locate suppliers.
Who does the work?
Hydrangea Derby is a partnership with Derby City Council. Maintaining and developing it depends heavily on the work done by volunteers. It’s always a good day when we work there and we have a timetable of jobs based on Tuesday mornings and for those of you who work Monday to Friday, the 4th Saturday of each month. If you want to Volunteer click on the link to find out how or contact us through our contacts page.