We escaped for the day, one day last week, the weather was wonderful, hot and sunny, we decided to make the most of it and headed up the M5 motorway and the Devon link road to Knightshayes Court, a house built in 1896 by John Heathcote Amory who was the then MP for Tiverton Devon. The interior was designed by John Burgess, although there was a falling out with the family. During the second World War, the house was used as a convalescent home for the US 8th Air Force, then taken over by the National Trust in 1973.
Knightshayes Court is famous for its woodland garden, which is huge, it makes my woodland garden look so tiny! Before reaching the woodland garden there were the terraces to enjoy and the formal garden. If you would like to join me on my walk through the garden, make yourself a coffee and come with me, we might be some time!
This beautiful Chaenomeles put mine to shame, it was heaving with buzzing bees, but I couldn’t help wonder if theirs had been flowering non stop since November!
Before reaching the woodland garden, there is the formal garden and I always think this space is so beautiful, understated simplicity, an area of calm before the colourful flowers nearby in other areas.
The terraces were filled with very colourful flowers, including this beautiful Gentian.
There were quite a few special gems in the terrace border, like this tiny little tulip. I think I must order some for the scree as it would be an ideal place for them.
At last we arrived at the woodland garden and look what was the first flower to greet me!
The white fritillaries show up much better in the grass than the purple ones, but I was amazed how small they all were. Obviously on a slope they would have good drainage whereas mine are sitting in damp ground all year round, no wonder mine are so huge.
Cyclamen repandum amongst wood anemones, you will be seeing rather a lot of these.
It’s bluebell time once more!
There are some really huge Magnolia trees here but unfortunately they had finished flowering, I had to make do with the newer, smaller ones.
Yes, on my wish list for this autumn, Trillium.
An Acer looking as colourful as an Azalea, who needs flowers with leaves like this!
One of a few willow sculptures we found.
Erythroniums, possibly Pagoda.
Pink Erythronium, I don’t think this is the variety Knighthays Pink which I have here, mine is paler than this. These don’t look too happy in the hot sunshine.
I don’t think any of us would want a badger this size in our gardens, it was about 10ft long!
The little Claytonia that I have here, is keeping company with Cyclamen repandum.
Another Erythronium, this time a white one, maybe E. White Beauty. I think these flowers look a lot happier in the shade than the previous pink ones in the sunshine.
White trillium with just a touch of burgundy at the base of the petals, very nice, must add it to the wish list!
This Trillium was beautiful, such a deep burgundy colour.
And more Trillium!
Wending our way back to the house now, there were lovely patches of narcissus on the lawn.
Willow deer on the front lawn.
“They” always say never to photograph flowers in the heat of the mid-day sun, now I know why, the colour is bleached out, the tulips were a much deeper shade than they look here.
Little and large tulips in a pot on the terrace.
That is the end of our tour round the gardens at Knightshayes Court. We then went for a super lunch at an old coaching inn which had a Michelin Star Restaurant and what a fantastic lunch it was, absolutely wonderful! The undergardener had also found a nursery on the map, bless him, so that is where we went after lunch and yes,
…….a few plants jumped into the trolley before I could stop them! They include a pulmonaria, hakonechloa and woodland phlox for the woodland, a few salvias for the border by the field and a couple of dwarf iris for the alpine scree. We had a really fantastic day out and I think playing truant now and again should be compulsory!