Tuesday, 28 February 2012

February Snowdrops at Kingston Lacey


A walk through the snowdrop woods at Kingston Lacey has become a family tradition. A February treat after cold, grey days and an uplifting way to see the first signs of a new spring.



From the parkland, we passed through the great gates into the courtyard, and round through an entrance in the yew hedge, to the back of the house. Kingston Lacey House was built by the Bankes Family in the seventeenth century and is a treasure house of centuries of art collecting.
The house and estate now belong to the National Trust and more information can be found at their website on http://nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacey or on the Wikipedia website. The house remains closed in the winter, although we could see that repairs were in progress on the bell shaped dome on the roof.


At the side of the house, formal gardens gave way to fine views across landscaped parkland.


We turned away from the house and followed the path into the old walled garden. Here were the first snowdrops, planted in drifts among companion plants like this small black grass .....


......delicate cyclamen......


....and some of the year`s first daffodils, brightly flowering in sheltered sunshine.


A water feature, built like a cairn from rocks and stones, grew velvet-green moss and damp- loving ferns.


Owl sculpture........


....and out along the woodland path were borders of early iris.....


...and yellow aconite.


Pathways bordered with banks of drifting white snowdrops. Most visitors just love the snowdrops as harbingers of spring, whatever their variety may be. For true Galanthophiles, who are lovers and collectors of snowdrops, this is a collection worth travelling many miles to see.










We walked through the wild wood , where masses of snowdrops grow at will among fallen tree trunks and undergrowth. Along the pathway where new beds of camelias and rhodedendrons are being planted, the trunks of old, dead specimen trees had been left as store cupboards where woodpeckers could drill for insects.....


....and as beautiful , natural sculptures among the newer , more formal beds.


The fine tree collection in this garden showed mature specimen trees both deciduous and evergreen. Young trees are growing here, planted alongside trees as old as the house itself. A living, changing arboretum that links generations of those who love to walk among trees.


Camelia......


...and the grave of a much loved pony, Silvertail. Such a poignant marker of the life of a family friend. Especially in the year 1915, when the young men of Dorset were being slaughtered across the Channel on the battlefields of World War I.

I stayed for a few moments with Silvertail, to find that our family group had moved on. I did not rush to join them, but wandered among trees and snowdrops in a glade left silent, apart from the song of robin, chaffinch and great tit.




The sun shone brilliant and warm onto the peeling bark of a young specimen tree.



Through dappled shade and snowdrops.....


...I walked to find the parkland gate that led out of the woods.


10 comments:

Jane The Booklady said...

How lovely! I haven't been there since the children were little. i tend to go to Heale House in the Woodford Valley for snowdrops. I must visit Kingston Lacey again, thank you! Jane x

BilboWaggins said...

Lovely walk, thanks for letting us coming with you :}

Ragged Robin said...

What wonderful gardens and such lovely photos of so many Spring flowers.

I felt as if I was there walking with you.

Toffeeapple said...

I do enjoy the walks that you take me on and this one was very special. So many flowers already in bloom for you. One of our graveyards has snowdrops and tiny cyclamen growing together, but they are not as numerous as those in your picture.

Bovey Belle said...

It always looks so beautiful there. A shame we are so far away as when we lived in Lytchett, it never occurred to us to visit there except in summer.

Mum said...

Beautiful snowdrops, my favourite flower.
Love from Mum
xx

Crafty Green Poet said...

what lovely photos! We have a snowdrop traditional walk too, at Cammo Country Park near Edinburgh

Winchester Daily Photos said...

Some lovely flowers on that walk.

Morning's Minion said...

This is my second time through this walk--I see I didn't leave a note to say that I enjoyed it.
Spring flowers have such a cool sweetness.

Rowan said...

I've never had chance to visit Kingston Lacey but I'd love to see it. The snowdrops and other Spring flowers look beautiful.