Lake District Gardens – Part One

Justly famous for its magnificent landscapes, the Lake District in North West England, also boasts some of the most beautiful gardens in the country.

Many surround ancient stately homes, others are attached to smaller domestic properties – or are separate spaces, cultivated by volunteers with a passion for gardening.

Here are just three of the stunning gardens you can visit in this scenic part of the UK.

Holehird Gardens

Holehird Gardens - Autumn Border

A rich tapestry of warm autumnal colours in a border at Holehird Gardens, near Windermere – photographed in October

The immaculate and beautiful Holehird Gardens, cover 17 acres of hillside near Windermere. They are the work of the Lakeland Horticultural Society and feature a walled garden, specimen trees and shrubs, rock and heather gardens, alpine houses, and herbaceous borders that put on an outstanding display from spring to autumn.

Rhododendrons and azaleas bring intense colour in late spring – and through the summer 300 species and cultivars of hydrangeas bloom, with the Hydrangea Walk alone featuring 150 cultivars of Hydrangea macrophylla. The Lakeland Horticultural Society also holds the National Collections of astilbes, daboecia, meconopsis and polystichum ferns. In addition to all this, visitors can take in views across the picturesque Lake District landscape. You can see more photos in the Holehird Gardens gallery on my main website.

Holker Hall

Holker Hall - Neptune Cascade and Fountain

Rhododendrons shed their petals around the Neptune Cascade and Fountain, at Holker Hall, Cumbria – photographed in May.

With 25 acres of formal and woodland gardens, complemented by ancient parkland, Holker Hall is one of the top Lake District destinations for garden lovers. With spring bulbs, summer wildflowers, roses and herbaceous borders, as well as a labyrinth studded with slate monoliths, there’s a lot to see and to photograph here. One of my favourite features is the cascade and fountain (pictured below) – particularly as it is framed by vibrant rhododendrons that shed their petals around the fountain like a carpet of red, in May.

When you visit Holker Hall it’s worth seeking out the Great Holker Lime, this impressive specimen measures 26 feet (nearly eight metres) in circumference and was probably planted 400 years ago.  See more images in the Holker Hall gallery on my website.

Levens Hall

Levens Hall - House and Topiary

Levens Hall originated at a Pele Tower, a structure built to defend agaist Scots raiders. However most of the building dates from Elizabethan times. the surrounding topiary garden was created in 1694.

Located in the south of the Lake District, near Kendal, Levens Hall is perhaps best known for its topiary garden. Some of the trees and bushes here were first planted in the 1690s, when the work of training the topiary began. The garden survived the trend for more naturalistic planting – and was further developed in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is a magical place that takes your breath away no matter how many times you visit. Trees and shrubs have been clipped into a myriad shapes and are under planted with a range of spring flowers, including tulips, double daisies and polyanthus. Later these are replaced by summer bedding such as antirrhinums, verbenas and nicotianas. Elsewhere, visitors can enjoy a rose garden, a 16th century garden, lush herbaceous borders, a fountain garden, a herb garden and an orchard.

There are very many more world-class gardens in the Lake District and I will cover these in later posts.

To see more photos visit the Levens Hall Gardens gallery on my main website.

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