The Woodland Walk in Spring

We hope everyone is holding up in these rather strange circumstances. As promised, we said we would bring the gardens to you so here’s a little update about the Woodland Walk…

Chionodoxa in the Cedar Meadow

In spring, nature gives us thousands more bulbs in every shape and colour and the display is every bit as enticing as late winter. Add the birdsong, the green vegetation and a glimpse of sunshine and the landscape awakens with heart stopping beauty.

The Woodland Walk

The woodland walk is unfurling in an unstoppable succession of growth and flower power. Dog’s mercury, feverfew and grey-green snowdrop foliage cover the ground and give a verdant backdrop to our bulbs; narcissus, hyacinths and imperial fritillaries. Weaving through these beauties are perennials including scented wild violets, the hellebores and brunnera which creates a haze of forget-me-not blue.

Brunnera in the Woodland Walk

They have only this time to make their presence felt before they have to give way to the Aquilegias and foxgloves. Every day is a changing display of colour, scent and form.

Explore our Snowdrops

Easton Walled Gardens is well known as a snowdrop garden in Lincolnshire and we open especially for visitors to enjoy them. Last season, 5000 visitors came to enjoy these stunning, delicate flowers which herald the beginning of spring.

Snowdrop Week, 15th – 23rd February,

open daily from 11am – 4pm.

snowdrops

In 2001, as we began to clear the gardens of brash and brambles, we could see snowdrops hanging on in the undergrowth. The snowdrops gradually recovered, helped by the warmth and light of the sun. We have also encouraged them by dividing and top dressing the bulbs with a natural fertiliser. Now they spread across two large sloping banks alongside the river and release wafts of honey scented perfume on sunny days.

woodland walk

The snowdrop walk begins under the old gatehouse and the top half of the garden with its drifts of snowdrops, aconites and hellebores in the woodland walk.
Further along the winding path you arrive at the Cedar Meadow, the views across the valley and gardens are particularly good here. This meadow is specifically planted to be at its best during spring, whether you come for crocuses, snowdrops, daffodils or tulips.

cedar meadow

The Meadow Retreat is perfectly situated in the Cedar Meadow and takes in the beautiful views. This luxurious rural ‘beach hut’ is available to hire for the day for up to 6 people. Bring along a picnic or treat yourself to lunch in the tearoom.

Book the Meadow Retreat

snowdrop bank

Descending to the lower gardens you will find massed drifts of snowdrops in a beautiful setting overlooking parkland and the river. We like to keep a natural look to the big drifts on the snowdrop banks and so have avoided filling them with other bulbs.

snowdrop display

As you make your way back towards the tearoom, you pass small beds where we have added cyclamen, pulmonarias, aconites, crocuses, early daffodils and irises in carefully considered colourways. Rare and unusual snowdrops can be found near the tearoom in purpose built beds. Spring flowers vary their flowering times according to the light and weather but we have spent a lot of time creating planting schemes that show colour and beauty whatever the weather has planned for the year.

Important Information:
Snowdrop Week runs from 15th – 23rd February
Open daily from 11am until 4pm
Botanical Art Exhibition will be open in the Coach House each day
Assistance dogs only
We don’t recommend attempting the full snowdrop walk in a wheelchair or scooter, the slopes are just too steep. A better (but shorter) route is marked on our maps.
Handrails are available on the slopes if you are able to walk.


Hellebores holding their heads up high?

Alexandra Norman explains her findings from a recent experiment with Hellebores…

If you visited the gardens during March, you may have noticed the line of Hellebores in vases in the History room. These were part of an experiment being carried out by florist, Alexandra Norman. Hellebores are notorious for sulking as soon as they are brought indoors, just when you need them to behave! Alexandra’s trial was to determine if certain types of conditioning would reduce the wilt of the Hellebore flower heads in warmer conditions. We thought it would be fun to share the details and results of the trial with you…

Hellebore Experiment

Hellebore Trial – March 2019
Alexandra Norman

METHOD:
• Trialled using Helleborus orientalis varieties, both plain white and dark pink speckled flowers
• Timeframe: 10 days
• Stems: 10” – 12” long in plain water
• Location: History Room
• Temperature: 14° – 18°

Alexandra used 4 methods of conditioning and left one vase of the Hellebores untouched:
1. Stems cut longitudinally (3cm)
2. Hot water blanching (15 seconds)
3. Cut stem seared with naked flame (8-10seconds)
4. Stem scored longitudinally 6 times with a needle (4cm)
5. Control (no conditioning)

The specimens were checked daily for signs of wilting. The first stage wilt of each specimen was recorded.

RESULTS:
Interestingly, the control specimen performed the best with first stage wilting occurring on day 10! A close second was the Hellebore seared with the naked flame, this reached first stage wilting on day 8 for the pink speckled flowers and day 10 the white flowers were still fresh.
The third best performing Hellebore was the needle-scored one with first stage wilting occurring on day 6. Fourth was the stem cut longitudinally, first stage wilt occurred on day 5. The worst performing flower was the one blanched in hot water, this one began to wilt on day two!

ALEXANDRA’S CONCLUSION:
The flowers with no conditioning and searing cut stems performed the best and blanching dramatically the worst.
Temperature of the room has a huge impact, not unsurprisingly. The cooler the room, the longer they stay fresh. Overall, the pink flowers wilted quicker than the white. The water in the cut and scored stems specimens were very cloudy by day 8 which probably contributed to wilting.

Hellebores

Look out for more experiments during the season!

David Austin Snr

We recently learned of the loss of a prodigious figure in the world of horticulture…

‘The Austin Family announced with great sadness the passing of David C.H. Austin Snr. OBE VMH, rosarian and founder of David Austin Roses Ltd. David Snr died peacefully at his home in Shropshire on Tuesday 18th December 2018, surrounded by his family. He was 92.’

David Austin Snr

For regular visitors to Easton Walled Gardens, David Austin will be a rather familiar name. We have designed and created 32 beds of roses to stand amongst the long meadow grasses, each containing between three and seven roses of one type. This means there are at least 150 roses to prune in late winter and with another 50 scattered through the gardens, we have quite an interesting collection.
Our visitors always marvel at our stunning rose collection and for that, we owe some thanks to David Austin Snr and his lifetime of dedication to the English Rose.

You can read the full announcement, detailing his wonderful life and career here.

Pumpkin Rolling, Plan Your Visit

Make the most out of your family visit to Easton Walled Gardens during October Half Term.

Plan your visit to Easton Walled Gardens – October Half Term

Children's Week

Whenever I visit a garden in a part of the country I don’t know, the one thing I want to do is make the most of the time and pack in as much as I can into a precious day off, especially with family in tow. It can be very difficult to find the information all in one place so we have put together this little guide to our area which we hope you find useful. If you would like further advice you can contact the office or tweet us @ewgardens

So here it is! Ideas for making the most of your visit to Lincolnshire, the East Midlands and some child friendly places to visit. Scroll down to see ideas for overnight stays, route planning, refreshments, good food and other gardens to visit around Easton Walled Gardens.

Making the most of your visit to Easton Walled Gardens during October Half Term:

OPEN DAYS: 17th – 28th October, on our usual open days which are Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Allow about 2 hours to visit us: 2 1/2 hours if you are eating in the tearoom. Our postcode is NG33 5AP if you are searching for the gardens on google. (Don’t rely on Sat Nav for directions, it will take you up and down the A1 – see our directions page for more.)

The gardens are open from 11.00 – 4.00 but we never turn away visitors who arrive at 10.30! The busiest time of the day for arrivals is 11.30 -12.30. Click here for full opening times.

We have loos with a baby change unit, a shop including some beautiful plants for sale, sweet pea seeds and other carefully chosen products such as Sophie Allport, Wrendale Designs and Susan Entwistle. There is even a selection of products especially for children.

During October half term, there will be lots of fun activities for families to take part in. Our famous Pumpkin Rolling event is one not to be missed – choose your pumpkin and roll it as far as you can down the terraces. Take part in the Halloween trail, plant a spring bulb in the cedar meadow or a conker in a pot. There’ll even be a big pile of leaves to jump in! All activities are covered by an extra £2 fee (On top of the normal admission fees)

Family

The gardens have limited access for wheelchair users although it is possible to see much of the lower gardens from above. If you have limited mobility and can manage slopes with a handrail then you may well find the lower gardens possible to navigate. For a full round up of disabled facilities, click here. This goes for buggies too but good all terrain buggies will be able to access all of the gardens!

We have a busy but efficient tearoom which serves light lunches and cream teas but, if you prefer, the estate pub in Burton le Coggles is open for lunch every day except Monday and Tuesday. Eating at The Cholmeley Arms (NG33 4JP) is very popular so you may need to book on 01476 550225. There are some comfortable rooms available if you want to make an overnight stay.

children playing

Services and refreshments on the way:

Visit the local towns of Bourne, Grantham or Melton Mowbray on your way to Easton Walled Gardens for refreshments, petrol and provisions. The Cholmeley Arms is also on your way or try The Pantry (NG33 4NH) in Corby Glen or the Five Bells in Edenham which we have heard good things about.

Other places to visit:

Alternatively, you might like to explore some of the beautiful architecture of our area and enjoy some retail therapy. Stamford, with its stunning Georgian buildings and great shopping is just 20 minutes on the A1.
The lovely market town of Oakham is just 25 minutes away and has great shopping and some fabulous places to eat. Nearby is Rutland Water with plenty of choices of things to do with young families including Bugtopia and Rock Blok. You can explore the whole region by visiting southwestlincs.com or discover-rutland.co.uk
*Please check opening times and prices at all venues before visiting.

children walking up a hill