Trip Report Part Deux: The Gardens & Estates

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Back this week for Part Two of the trip report, this time focusing on the gardens and estates we visited in England. A timely trip as who knew, but 2016 is apparently the year of the English Garden. So glad we could oblige!

Starting in London, we arrived a few days in advance of the RHS Flower Show at Chelsea and while we consider ourselves patient people, we really could not wait to see flowers and gardens in the English style. There was a gracious plenty of places to explore, and I am sure we could go back for another two weeks and explore totally new places, but we had to be selective, and we mapped things out according to group interest, proximity other things non flower related we wanted to do and time.

What We Saw

The pictures certainly speak for themselves….and if I could figure out a way to share all one million of the must have shots I took, I certainly would. For now, enjoy the cream of this crop.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Dating back to the 1700’s but more than likely started well before that on a smaller scale , Kew is today, a 300-acre parcel of gardens and greenhouses amassing the world’s largest collection of living plants. It was amazing.

We enjoyed a tree-top walk through the canopy of trees and happened upon a small family of parrots feeding their newest member in a knothole of a tree. We enjoyed the many, many immensely sized trees, include one Grande dame, a sweet chestnut tree that 6 adult women together could not circle their hands around.

The rhododendron area was appealing to us shade gardeners, and we really loved the openness of the spaces. Check out Kew Gardens.

Stourhead

This visit was absolutely a day long trip, necessitated by the sheer size of what we could see. The Stourhead estate encompasses 2,650 acres and is world famous for its large scale landscape garden whose centerpiece is a lake (yes, a lake) that reflects the classical temples, grottoes and rare, exotic trees that have been planted there.

And that’s just the outside….the house is definitely worth a visit, just to see the vast amount of Chippendale furniture and amazing art. The church on the grounds was having a flower show the day we visited to raise funds for restoration, and we enjoyed the creations seen here as well as a nice church lady prepared lunch. For more info, check out Stourhead Garden.

Wilton House

The sleeper hit to me of the places we visited. I did not expect much, especially when I heard it had an adventure park for small kids on the property, and when you enter the car park the front of the house looks small compared to other places we visited, but then KAPOW! It blows you away.

Located in Wiltshire, the area of England we were exploring, The Wilton House is described as an English country house, specifically the country seat of the Earls of Pembroke for over 400 years. It is smaller today than it was at one time, but is still significant at over 14,500 acres. Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibilities and scenes from Outlander and The Crown have been filmed here. Check out Wilton House.

Enjoy being a virtual traveler, and get going on planning your own flower adventure!

jbryanTrip Report Part Deux: The Gardens & Estates