When to visit
Spring starts with a carpet of crocus in the grass of the front meadow and the orchard, this is followed by fritillaries and then the short native daffodils. There are tulips everywhere in April/May, in pots and in the borders. Each year different colour combinations and associated plantings are tried out. The Osmanthus delavayi at the four corners of the Sunk Garden fill the air with their scent along with the Viburnum carlesii, by the thatch roof, planted by Christopher Lloyd as a young boy. The different euphorbias run through the garden with their lime green colouring and the feathery fennels form mounds of brightest green foliage. Hellebores, such as a clump of the tall vigorous Anna’s Red in the Blue Garden, are well represented. There are two magnificent magnolias: Lennei on the Lower Terrace and M. liliiflora Nigra in the Orchard Garden both with large purple flowers.
Look out for what is planted in the Solar garden – every year is different in 2013 the spring bedding was Antirrhinum Bella Red and Bella Bronze with tulip Daydream.
In early summer there are always hosts of poppies throughout the garden – great splashes of the small bright red Ladybird, large orbs of the blood-red oriental poppy Goliath, deep purple Laurens Grape, delicate pink Beth’s Poppy. Bright purple alliums; yellow fennels – majestic candelabras arising from mounds of ferny foliage. The meadows start to sing, there are many separate areas: the front meadow; the orchard, next to the vegetable garden, the old topiary lawn, along the drive verges and into the fields beyond – each with its different mix of flora. There are literally thousands of native orchids, the early purple, the green-winged and then the common spotted. They attract honey and bumblebees as well as butterflies, hoverflies, etc.
On the other side of the longest day, the herbaceous perennials come into their own. The heleniums, the phlox, the roses and the clematis in the long border.
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