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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Summer Gardens at Charlecote Park.

I woke up early yesterday morning and as I pulled the curtains open, I noticed how still it was outside with only the slightest breeze which could be seen in the highest trees. The sun was out and it looked like it would be a glorious morning. I packed my camera into my bag and set off for Charlecote Park. One of the advantages of being a volunteer at Charlecote is that I can walk around the park before it is open to visitors.

It is a totally different experience to walk around exploring the gardens when the park is closed. It is so quiet and you feel a little like the Park is all yours. Well, just for a little anyway. I have mentioned before that I dream a lot :) Places like these are made to dream in. I am sure many people wonder what it would have been like to be the lady of the Manor or even the lord strolling through the house and gardens in their fine clothes. The ladies in their beautiful expensive long dresses, holding a lace parasol  to protect their fair skin.

People visit properties like Charlecote Park for many reasons. Some because like me, have a love of history, others just for a day out and a place for children to burn off their energy but some love to see how the 'other half live'. There are many reasons for people's visits but everyone loves to explore be it the house, gardens or the rest of the estate.

Yesterday I was out for a quiet walk but also on a bit of a mission. The gardens are constantly changing and I am trying to record how they change through the year and catch the beautiful arrays of colour before they fade and the next ones bloom. Unfortunately, ideal weather days don't always coincide with days I can escape but yesterday morning was perfect and I was free to explore.

As I walked under the arch of the stables into the main courtyard where the tea gardens are, I spotted Dodo, Charlecote Park's cat enjoying the morning sun. A little attention is a must when you see this cat because it is so friendly and so tiny compared to my big cats at home.

I have two Russian Blues cats myself. We originally had three cats all from the same litter because I could not bear to separate them and they were so close and so cute. All the other kittens in the litter were happily exploring on their own but these three were all snuggled up together and have never changed. The two boys are very big cats, they are a lot longer than your average cat and also a lot heavier.

When I first picked Dodo up I could not believe how tiny and light he was in comparison to my cats. I used to call mine the 'three wise monkeys'. They might be big cats but they are the gentlest I have ever known. Ideal family cats. I have to apologise in how I go off track a little with my writings. I write my blogs as the words come into my head so sometimes like a real conversation, it goes off track.

Our three wise monkeys not long after we got them playing football. Sasha, Blue and Smokie. Yes I am a cat person :)

8 years later. This is Blue.

While photographing the beautiful flowers in the Tea Gardens, Dodo decided to follow me. I guess he had not had enough attention or wanted to model for me.

The Tea Gardens are looking very colourful at the moment. There are many different types of dahlias growing there as well as in the long border that runs along side the Woodland Garden. Dahlias are such perfect flowers and one I know well as my Grandfather's garden would be full of them through the summer months. They bloom beautifully until the first frost and also look so perfect. 

Some of the flowers have water drops on them as the gardens were just being watered as I arrived.

Such a perfect flower. This next one is like red velvet material.


Some of the beautiful flowers at the back of the house close to the river in the Parterre. I like to sit on the steps here sometimes, just watch the wildlife go swimming by. With the Park being a little busier at the moment you can often spot the deer on the other side of the river on Camp Ground as well as the cattle.

If I am correct, these are the 'Creamy Vanilla African Marigolds' also a very perfect flower which has a much bigger head than your average marigold. 

It looks like a frilly petticoat from the old days.

Such a beautiful morning for a lovely walk with the sun shining and the smell of all these beautiful flowers. Perfect!

These are beautiful flowers. They are 'Argyranthemum Maderia' and the 'Cherry Red' variety. 

I used to grow these flowers called Gazania in my old garden. I love the way the go to sleep each night. 

Then open up every morning as the sunrises.

This next plant is the Cineraria "silver dust" and it gives the appearance of frost.


Remember how the the Monarde Didyam looked in July?

This is how they look now. It looks like a very different flower. This flower can be found around the croquet lawn and also in the Tea gardens.

The Cosmos is always a pretty flower to have in a border and one I often have growing in my garden. It comes in a variety of colours and is very easy to grow. This flower is often found in cottage gardens and is one of my favourite flowers.

Gladiolus which is sometimes called the 'Sword Lily'

The Sun was a little bright for this next photo but I still added it anyway as I love the selection of colours.

A busy bumblebee on a Cosmos flower.

The colourful borders around the croquet lawn. 

This next flower which I found in yellow and pink is also from the  Dahlia family and it called the 'Honka Yellow' The yellow one looks like the Sun but also a perfect star with it's long slender petals.

                                  The Dahlia 'honka pink'

This next plant I really like as I love the deep colours and I have seen it at Upton House as well as Charlecote Park. It is called the 'Cleome Hassleraine' which is commonly known as 'Spider Flower' and originally came from South Africa. 

Sedum 'Autumn Joy' is a perennial plant which flowers in August and changes to a copper colour as autumn sets in.

Goldenrod also known as Solidago. This plant attracts honey bees and butterflies also love it.

The long border down the side of the woodland garden.

The Black-eyed Susan is another Deer resistant plant and is very easy to grow and are not choosy about it's soil.

This Sedum 'Autumn Joy , still in bud in some areas of the park and has water droplets on it.

The Comma Butterfly 

National Trust has '50 things to do before you are 11 3/4' and one of those things is pick an apple from a tree and eat it. I think there should be one for adults which includes picking and eating a mulberry from a bush. Charlecote Park's 180 year old Mulberry bush is full of fruit at the moment and I could not believe how many people were stood around it picking the berries and none of them had ever tried them before. A new experience for many. The mulberry bush is not found in many gardens any more and I have to admit I have never had one either. They look a lot like Raspberries but apparently the blacker they are the sweeter they become.

The Woodland Garden is a real pleasure to walk through at the moment, everything is growing so well and the light coming in through the trees lights up the plants beautifully.

The pathways are full of flowers with lots of insect activity going on especially from the honey bees.

A busy honey bee.

Anemone x hybrida " September charm" is growing so well but then everything is this year with the higher temperatures and all the rain we have had. We had a good few months of weather but August feels a little more like late September at the moment with temperatures dropping. Feels like Autumn is on its way.

The Buddleia "davidii" with it's thousand miniature flowers also known as Summer Lilac and the more popular name of the Butterfly bush which as it's name implies, the butterflies love!

Gaura "passionate pink"

The Aconitum  that weaves beautifully through the Anemone in the Woodland garden. I love the way they complement each other.

                                        Here they are together.

I love the rusty red of the new leaves on this plant. Sometimes you can get a real mix of shades. Beautiful Autumn colours in the middle of Summer.

 There are a few different colours of fuchsias behind the summer house. This is often an area people miss as they walk down the long border but it is worth stopping to have a look. There is always a colourful display there, both in the pots and the small borders.

Yellow begonia in the pots.

The Orchard is also full of fruit. I wasn't sure how well these trees would do as they spent much of the Winter under water due to floods . Some of the trees are not doing as well as others but some are full of fruit and there are many different types of apples.

 I really enjoyed this walk. It was so full of colour and a freshness in the air which just made it so much more enjoyable. I arrived back home to hubby cooking 'Slow cooked pork' in the oven. A lovely smell to walk into the house to :) a perfect day!

Thanks for reading my blog and a big thanks to Paul (Head Gardener at Charlecote Park) and all his team (staff and volunteers) for the lovely display of flowers I enjoyed on my walk. They are all beautiful.

                                               Copyright Jana Eastwood