Bowood House Woodland Gardens

Bowood estate encompasses 2000 acres, part of which includes a marvelous woodland garden with over 2 miles of woodland pathways meandering through native, specimen and flowering shrubs and trees. It was laid out in 1854 by the 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne and added to ever since.

It is situated a short drive down the road from the house and to my mind, even better. We arrived on opening day April 19, 2018 and the staff wasn’t sure what if anything was blooming yet but the warm week brought out the spring beauty in abundance.

The magnolias and early rhododendrons were blooming and one could wander past a rainbow of colour.

white rhododendron blooms
pale pink bell shaped rhododendron blooms
blush pink rhododendron blooms

From white through pale pinks to reds, violets, purples, yellows, flame hues, the colours of rhododendron flowers are only surpassed by those of the iris family.

purple beauty
purple rhododendron
yellow species? rhododendron
spring kiss
raspberry parfait colours

In addition to the rhodies, large japanese pieris were dangling clusters of blossoms and the early English laurel cherry was magnificent with its candleabras of white blooms. On an interesting note, the leaves of the laurel cherry smell like almonds when crushed. They contain the toxin hydrogen cyanide and look so similar to bay laurel leaves that there have been a few accidental restaurant poisonings

japanese pieris
Prunus laurocerasus “Magniifolia”

On an interesting note, the leaves of the laurel cherry smell like almonds when crushed. They contain the toxin hydrogen cyanide and look so similar to bay laurel leaves that there have been a few accidental restaurant poisonings through mixing up the leaves!

Even the camellias were coming out. I can only dream of growing those…

coral camellia

Of course being in an English spring woodland I had to see the famous bluebells and Bowood garden did not dissapoint. They weren’t quite out in full force yet but still breath taking!

bluebells
carpets of blue

Another week I think and it would be solid blue 🙂

The family mausoleum is in the woods and what a lovely place to spend eternity.

Lansdowne family mausoleum

As a child growing up on a country farm, I would wander the woods in the spring in search of wood violets, hepatica, dutchman’s breeches and skunk cabbage, which I found growing here beside primroses 🙂

our own skunk cabbage
Gunnera unfurling its leaves

I still look forward to walking the nearby woods every spring in search of ephemeral beauty. As Charlie Landsdowne quoted: “We only have so many springs in each lifetime”. 

Enjoy each one as they come.

Garden Graces Plantscapes

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