Thursday, 31 May 2018

Bank Holiday Chatsworth

I normally avoid stately homes and their gardens, or indeed anywhere popular that might attract visitors, on Bank Holidays, preferring to be the cool kid who goes out the weekend before or after, but there's always space to get away from the crowds in Chatsworth gardens so we decided to risk a visit over last weekend. It was a hot day, and the area around the Cascade was busy with families picnicking and paddling, but elsewhere there was peace and quiet to be found.

One of the things I love about having an annual pass to Chatsworth or, say, National Trust membership, is the ability to go back time and again and watch a garden change through the seasons, almost as if it's your own (but without the work and costs of maintenance). We've already visited Chatsworth twice this year - at the end of March then a few weeks later, and, of course, the gardens change with every visit.

At the moment Chatsworth's stunners are the golden bright, honeysuckle-scented azaleas massed in the aptly named Azalea Dell.

Wander past them, and there are rhododendrons in a variety of colours - from purest white to deep magenta - to be discovered in the wilder areas of the garden.

Heading back downhill to the Maze, I found these wonderful lupins. I, and probably most gardeners, grow them as 'spot' plants; one here and there in a mixed border. At Chatsworth though, they're massed together with a multitude of shades echoing those of the rhododendrons.

where else would you find a van selling champagne?

The same colours appeared again in the small sensory garden. Here plants are chosen to appeal to all the senses - some are scented, others rustle as the breeze blows through them, or have velvety leaves - but these late tulips and the peony below were definitely planted to catch the eye!

In a month or so, I'll head back; I wonder what there'll be to see then?

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