"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Friday, 2 May 2014

Day Out - Part 2: Biddulph Grange Gardens

Biddulph Grange Gardens were created by James Bateman, his wife Maria and friend marine artist Edward Cooke in just 27 years, from 1842 to 1868. The garden was dug out of the valley side and compartments were constructed for trees and plants that Bateman sourced from famous plant explorers. Each compartment or room of the garden has created its own little microclimate. The gardens are a famous example of a Victorian Garden and are Grade I listed.

Many thanks to "Dragonfly" who kindly told me of a recent programme on these gardens as part of the British Gardens in Time series on BBC4. I watched the programme on iplayer and it reveals many interesting facts about James Bateman and the construction of the gardens. The global aspect of the garden has been compared to the Great Exhibition of 1851 and features from this can be seen in garden sculptures. Sadly Bateman spent so much money on the gardens that he eventually had to sell the house and garden. In more recent years the House was used as a hospital and parts of the garden nearest the house were actually filled in. The National Trust has completely renovated and restored the gardens to their original splendour.

Different parts of the garden visit various parts of the world and as we descend into the garden we began with "Italy".

The Lake

Tunnels cut through rock are found throughout the gardens and its a wonderful surprise when you emerge as you really have no idea what to expect.

Flowers around the tennis lawn - rhododendrons and azaleas are just starting to flower

The Lime Avenue

The Gardens are famous for their dahlia walk but at this time of the year compartments surrounded by yew are full of tulips - 10,000 bulbs have been planted! (Rather a lot of tulip photos so if you are not keen on the flower it might be best to scroll down a bit!

The Shelter House

View from the Shelter House looking back along Dahlia (Tulip at present) Walk

The Stumpery - the oldest in Britain

"China" - the design of the garden is based on the china "Willow" pattern design

At this stage, horrors of horrors, not only was the battery flashing ever more urgently that it was low but I suddenly realised the camera card was nearly full :( So I had to economise rather a lot on photos from now on.

The Himalayan Glen - this is the lower part I managed to miss the upper part.

"Egypt" - another well known part of the gardens. I could have taken a lot more photos here.

The Cherry Orchard

Parterre - I think this is probably the Iris parterre which is the smallest garden within the garden

By now the battery had completely given up :( We went on a beautiful woodland walk (although it may well have been too dark for photos or so I tell myself!!) with lots of wildflowers and willow structures for children to play in and walked back along Wellingtonia Avenue.

We were the last to leave the gardens at 5.30 when they closed. Sadly no time for tea or cake :( and the shop and plant centre had closed too. There were several areas of the garden we just didn't have the time to visit (I really think you could spend a day here rather than the two and a quarter hours we had) - the Kitchen Garden, the Pinetum with monkey puzzle trees and also a geological gallery which in Victorian times formed the entrance to the garden.

E's already planning next year's birthday trip and, oh joy!!!, she wants to visit Ely. I don't think she's cottoned on yet that, as well as shops, it has a cathedral and stained glass museum which I've wanted to visit for years!!! :)

Have a lovely weekend everyone.


John Wooldridge said...

Gorgeous place... shown beautifully by your photos.

Ragged Robin said...

John Wooldridge - Thanks so much John :)

Pete Duxon said...

lovely photos Caroline.

not many shops at Ely..... it is quite small......

Ragged Robin said...

Pete Duxon - Thanks so much Pete :)

Sshh!! Don't tell her!!! All the more time for the cathedral and stained glass museum :) !!!

Wendy said...

The different areas with their international themes look very interesting, but I love the stumpery most of all! The colours of the mass of tulips are beautiful.

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - Thanks so much :) I've wanted to visit the gardens for years and certainly wasn't disappointed :)

Countryside Tales said...

What a fascinating place but how heartbreaking that he had to sell it. I always enjoy your garden and historic house walks. We've got a week off together in June and we're planning on visiting the Organic Garden you posted on a few days back- thanks for the tip :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a magnificent house and gardens, there is certainly no shortage of Tulips there at the moment that's for sure. Thankfully I myself love Tulips and the sheer variety of different types on show in this post made your garden tour all the more enjoyable :-)

I also love the China gardens and that Yew hedging itself is worthy of special note!

Hope you are having a fantastic weekend :-)

PS. Do you know how far this house and gardens are from the Churnet Valley railway as I maybe in the area sometime in the not so distant future ?

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Thank you - yes he and his wife must have been totally devastated - so sad :( Hope you enjoy Ryton Gardens - should look lovely in June :)Look forward to hearing what you think if you visit.

David Turner - Many thanks David - glad you like tulips :) The China gardens were just magical - so much to see there could have done with several more hours !!

Yes having a lovely weekend thanks - went out to see bluebells today :) Hope you are having a wonderful weekend too.

I've checked for you and it looks as though Biddulph Grange gardens are about 18 miles (34 mins) from the railway. The post code for the gardens is ST8 7SD. The house isn't open to the public (people live there I think) but there's more than enough to see in gardens and grounds. Hope you can get there and enjoy them as much as we did. Don't forget to get a map of gardens at Visitor Centre. Not sure if they do a guide book - for 1st time ever I forgot to buy one!!! Look forward to seeing some of your photos if you get chance to post them :)

ps Its National Trust - if not a member its £8.50. Children too old for family membership and were moaning about cost (we ended up paying for them!!) which is probably why I forgot guide book!!!

SeagullSuzie said...

Brilliant post, I've recorded the garden series and am looking forward to watching it. It seems like there is so much to do and you did lots in just a short time...shame about no tea and cake or time to visit the plant sales.
P.S. I had to draw part of Ely when out on a field trip at school!

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Thanks so much :) I plan to watch the rest of the series too - if the one on Biddulph is anything to go by they will be fascinating :)

A bit worried now about the Ely trip because E has been on computer and it looks as though she's visited my blog and I suspect seen my comments :( !!!!!

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for all the info Caroline, you are very kind to have provided me with so much info and I will really try and get across some time this summer.

Thanks again and all the best :-)

Ragged Robin said...

David Turner - Thanks David and its a pleasure to help. Hope you get chance to visit.

You've also given me an idea as the family love steam railways so it might make a nice day out for us too. I'm not sure how long the 10.5 mile return route takes but if we went early enough we might have chance to revisit Biddulph Grange Gardens :) So thanks to you too :)