Monday, 20 February 2017

Calke Abbey snowdrops - and palm trees!

Another day, another snowdrop walk - this time to the National Trust's Calke Abbey.

The house itself seems to sit in almost bare fields; perhaps once these were manicured lawns designed to not distract the approaching visitor from the house itself, though like much at Calke they now appear a little shabby and worn down, especially at the end of winter.

The woodland walk carpeted with snowdrops is found a short distance from the house, next to the walled kitchen gardens - it's up a slight hill but you can catch a ride on a buggy if you prefer (my family don't appreciate the fun of this and make me walk!)

There were more snowdrops in the walled garden, displayed more formally on the staging of the Auricula Theatre. Each of these pots contains a different variety. I was surprised to see how many there were; some with quite striking differences.

There's more to see than just snowdrops,even at this time of year - hazel catkins and witch-hazel flowers.

Palm trees - outside even in an English winter

and in the shelter of the orangery.

We investigated inside the spooky ice house ...

... and found an even more terrifying tunnel leading under the gardens. In the middle, there was so little light that I couldn't see the walls on either side of me, but fortunately the tunnel is straight so the light at the end is always visible.

But the biggest surprise of the day was the arrival of a small herd of deer, running down from somewhere beyond the House and car park, and stopping barely a hundred metres from us. Obviously they knew we were well behaved folk who would stay behind the garden's fencing and not disturb them, but I wonder how often they jump the other way ...

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