Well, the Beltane Festival is over, and it must have been a historic event this year as we had a whole seven days without rain spoiling the proceedings! The dry spell has gone on longer than that though, and we have been enjoying lovely sunny days with blue skies and WARMTH! It makes up for the long long winter we had. The last couple of days have seen rain and strong gusts of wind, but with sunny intervals, so it’s really very pleasant. A really good downpour every now and then really would be good for the gardens, but we want the sun during the day! It can rain at night.
Anyway on Friday I went with the U3A gardening group on a trip to Alnwick Garden in Northumberland in the north of England. It took a couple of hours to get there in the community minibus, with a stop at Kelso for a cup of tea and time to stretch legs.
We arrived in the old and historic town, passing by the castle, and circled its walls to arrive at the gardens. There has been a succession of gardens on this site for around 200 years, but after the second world war, when the garden had been used to grow produce, it fell into disuse, until a vision of the present Duchess of Northumberland saw it rise again, like the proverbial phoenix! There are several small gardens comprising the whole thing, and more are still to come. However the main feature is a wonderful cascade sending tons of water downhill through several pools, and every half hour sending plumes and arches of water up into the air.
The kids are waiting on the bridge because they know what is going to happen next….. Spouts of water shoot up suddenly to fall in the pool below the bridge and soak anyone who happens to be on the bridge at the time. There are shrieks and yells as the kids run the gauntlet of the water! Water play and getting wet is very much encouraged in the garden. At the foot of the falls, little children can play in mini diggers, collecting water in the buckets and emptying it over the paved area or into the ditches that catch the water from where it is pumped back up hill to cascade down once more. From the top of this huge water feature you can look over to the pavilion where you can sit at an outdoor table and watch the fun with a drink and something to eat.
Behind me at the top of the hill are the steps to the Venetian gates that lead to the flower garden. A huge pool in the centre of the garden seems to be the starting point for lots of little cobbled rills that flow from one pool to another I expect it would be rather nice to take your shoes off and enjoy the cooling water. Kids were already having fun doing just that and splashing around in the water, while adults walked around admiring the flowers, or sometimes lingered a while on a bench in the shade of a pretty rose bower.
while somehow, these apricot coloured ones remind me of the fluffy ginger cats with the flat squashed-look faces.
I’d like these clambering up the front of my house!
I love these geraniums. They’d really brighten up my garden. I must remember to look for them at a garden centre shop! And these are nice as well. I wish I knew or even remembered the names of some of these plants!
And so to the tree house!! Quite the biggest I have ever seen, containing a cafe bar and a restaurant, as well as an exhibition room, and having lots of decking walkways and wobbly bridges through the branches which the kids all loved!
Alnwick Garden is somewhere I just have to go back to! I haven’t seen all of it yet, as there’s the Poison Garden to see – it was too hot for a guided tour - and the Serpent Garden, another watery garden. I was able to look down on the Poison Garden as the guide showed various plants that had to have special licences to be grown, and explained about drugs of one sort of another. This garden is kept locked between tours!
So maybe next time there will be more development underway. There are certainly plans for more – a sensory garden that you will explore blindfolded being one that sounds interesting! Well done to the Duchess for being inspired!
Talk again soon.