Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Calke Abbey - #1 - flower gardens

Lured out by a forecast of sunny weather we headed off to Calke Abbey last weekend for a potter round the gardens. As usual I took masses of photos, so I've split them into three posts - flowers/ornamental gardens(this one) fruit and vegetables, and buildings.

We weren't up and out very early so decided to stop in the parkland for a picnic lunch - and look at that beautiful sunshine! By the time we'd moved on, parked the car and reached the visitor centre, the rain was pouring down!

We patiently waited it out, assuming that would be the only rain shower that afternoon ...  fortunately I had my umbrella along.

The gardens at Calke are set at a distance from the house, hidden by shrubbery, on the top of a slight rise but angled to catch the warmth of the sun on the south-facing walls.
Following the winding path, we first made our way first to the walled flower garden. It's sheltered enough here for palm trees to grow, encircled at the moment by annual bedding plants.

Japanese Anemones

Around the walls, roses and herbaceous borders were still in flower, and in one corner the auricula theatre is now filled with geraniums of every shade of pink. Lack of autumn colour is one of the gripes I have about my garden, so I was hoping to go home with some ideas to liven it up - maybe some bright yellow heleniums, or tall pink japanese anemones would look good.

Geraniums on the staging of the auricula theatre

Passing through a gateway, we came to another, but much larger, walled area. Now it's mainly grassed over but with fruit trees both in the centre and along the walls, it was presumably an orchard at some point. Along one edge is a wonderful bed of mixed flowers - I spotted cosmos, rudbeckias, and cornflowers among them but couldn't name them all.

As we left this area it was time to get that umbrella out while we wandered round the vegetable garden till even heavier rain forced us to take cover in a greenhouse!

Even this area has its share of flowers with borders of  shorter plants - michaelmas daisies, heleniums, kaffir lilies - backed by sweetpeas and, tallest of all, sunflowers.

Waiting for the
rain to stop

At this point we took a long break in a potting shed while the rain came down again.

Eventually the clouds cleared away and sunshine returned, and our walk continued via this magnificent dahlia border. I can't grow these easily at home - the general 'overgrown' aspect of my garden leads to too many slugs and snails which just destroy dahlias' tender stems - but I was so taken by the variety of shape and colour on show here, that I feel tempted to try.

I was just about to head off through this gateway, assuming I'd found another bit of garden to explore, when I realised we'd now come full circle and were back at the first garden with the palm trees.

Time as well for us to be heading back home.

These two pictures, taken within a minute of each other, sum the day up - heavy showers with sunny intervals. add in the rainbow which appeared on the way back to the car, and you've almost a bit of everything.
It's lucky really that there are so many glasshouses, sheds and store rooms to explore in the gardens at Calke,as without them we would have been totally soaked!

Other posts from this visit to Calke - #2 fruit and veg
                                                            #3 decay, decoration, details

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