During Spring 2021 we were alerted to a special 12 month garden deal - 2 for 1 entrance to gardens up and down the whole of the British Isles which sadly finished at the beginning of April. The following pictures are from our last two trips in March as we made the most of the end of the deal.. The voucher has taken us to many gardens, some on our doorstep but others much further away. These last two visits at the end of March included a local Victorian walled garden, and a sculpture park hidden away down narrow country lanes in the Cotswolds.
It wasn't the most fruitful period to visit a walled garden, but even so, we were surprised at what was already growing in a March garden.
As soon as we stepped inside the walls, the chill in the air was left behind, and a cloak of warmth enveloped us.I knew that we would find some Fritillaria imperialis - Crown imperials - I could smell their distinctive aroma as soon we walked amongst the tulips.This dramatic fritillary is native to the mountainous regions of Turkey, western Iran and eastwards to Kashmir. We saw tulips galore when we visited Kashmir during Spring a few years ago, but never spotted these beautiful flowers growing in the wild. I planted some in our garden, but although they flowered the first year, the following year they came up barren. This, apparently, is a normal occurrence, unless their growing situation is absolutely perfect they decline to flower. A solitary bee was very busy, his pollen sacs are full, but even so he continues to forage.
Time to head off, sat nav on, and see if we can locate the illusive Sculpture Park.After travelling along a network of very narrow country lanes we finally found the entrance situated in a woodland setting. There were over 200 sculptures being exhibited which were for sale at some very high prices. Others that were not for sale were pieces, such as the one below, made out of upcycled metal and revealing some of the dreadful detritus of our modern world.
This pair of ducks are not exactly what they seem. They are actually as tall as a 6ft man. Imagine coming across them unexpectedly in the dark, would they frighten you?
Seeing so many sculptures for sale made us realise just what a precarious life being a sculptor is. All of the design work, the costs involved in making them, and then the added costs of placing them somewhere for sale. Some of the sculptures were so large that they would have required a very big vehicle for their journey and a crane to lift them on arrival.
I have just discovered that the offer I mentioned at the beginning of this post is available again for the coming year. It is in the May edition of the BBC Gardeners' World Magazine, giving entrance to 392 gardens throughout the year from Cornwall to Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland. The offer includes places such as Kew Gardens, Leeds Castle, Bodnant Garden and Nymans. Gardens are great places to get away from the stresses and strains of our world today, especially if like me, you enjoy flowers, trees, birds, butterflies and being surrounded by beautful landscapes. There are 6 packets of seeds also included in the deal plus the monthly magazine. It is available in the shops now, but if you are interested make haste as they will probably go quickly.