This post sees us visiting one of our favourite gardens to visit, Trentham, for the third time this year.
We were hoping for slightly better weather for our March wander but it was cold and mostly overcast. The breeze was icy enough to make our eyes and noses run!
Passing over the bridge over the River Trent we get our first glimpse of the gardens and at first sight little has changed in Piet Oudolf’s River of Grasses. There remains a lot of straw coloured stems mostly now cut low to the ground but within them we found one lonely daffodil blooming away cheerfully. A joke by a gardener perhaps? A rogue that came in a wheelbarrow from the compost heap? Beneath the trees in the sweep of River Birches the chatreuse bracts of the euphorbias glow like swarms of glow Worm.
Moving into the Piet Oudolf prairie borders there are signs of strong growth on many perennials especially the Thalictrum, Papavers and Monardas. Beneath the old Yew trees the circles of Cyclamen continue to bloom for the third month running.
The only change with the Hornbeam arbour is that the leaf buds are on the verge of bursting and the gardeners have painted the bench. Nearby we found seagull shaped areas of crocus in the lawns just as last month we had found them created from snowdrops.
Moving through the Hornbeam tunnel we discovered that the Helebores we enjoyed so much in February were still going strong. When we reached the Italian Garden with their formal beds we found much more colour than on previous visits with daffodils, pansies and primulas flowering within the box hedging. A splash of yellow from a Forsythia matched the golden blooms of the daffodils growing in the urns along the stone balustrades. They were lovely daffs with clear yellow colour throughout and long trumpets with slightly reflex petals (flying backwards!).
The distant view over the Tom Stuart-Smith Italinate Garden looked much the same until we peered over the ballustrades and we immediately noticed a sea of blue mist. On closer inspection we discovered the colour was from masses of Scillas. It is a good year for Scillas – such common little bulbs but such a brilliant blue that enhances everything that is alongside it. We found them with the fresh bronze-purple filigree foliage of fennel, with narcissi and with another small bulb which I think may have been Chionodoxa.
These huge, strongly bursting bulbs we believe may be Cardiocrinum gigantium. We shall find out on future visits.
Moving from Tom Stuart-Smith’s garden towards the old parkland we came across a new addition to the collection of fairy sculpture dotted around the gardens. This new one is by far the best, a fairy blowing the seed parachutes from a dandelion seedhead. So delicate! My photos do not do it justice.
We were enjoying the sight of thousands of daffodils growing in the lawns when a sudden shower of icy rain and hail forced us to take an early coffee break but we were soon wandering again through the “display gardens”. You can see that the first picture of the daffs was taken through a haze of rain.
Watch this space! One area of the display gardens was being re-developed so we shall have something new to discover on our April visit. There were some exiting metal structures going up but apart from that we couldn’t even guess what the gardeners and landscapers were up to.
We took a detour into a part of the gardens that we did not even know existed – a short woodland trail. We couldn’t access it all as work was being done to the fire pit area but we liked what we saw. Sadly the visit to the bird hide was a waste as the multitude of bird feeders hanging there were empty! The woodland is alongside the lake and on the lakeside we found batches of this mysterious looking plant with yellow-green flowers in a tight umbrella shaped head. Does anyone recognise it?
Den building was an activity provided for the children and it looked as if they had been enjoying being creative.
Making our way back to the car we passed the rose border where perennials were coming into growth strongly. The view through to Piet Oudolf’s River of Grasses looked just as it did last month. The roses were making new growth especially the climbers. We found a colourful planting of hellebores and Brunnera “Jack Frost” as we left the garden which was a real bonus.
I shall close with my one successful photo of the fairy sculptures – at least one worked! So we are now looking forward to out April visit when there should be a lot of change. The growth rate will be accelerating nicely by then.