"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

Monday, 11 April 2016

Winterbourne House Gardens and Edgbaston NR

Last week I managed to persuade B to pay a visit to the beautiful Winterbourne House Gardens. The botanical gardens cover 7 acres and are a fine example of an Arts and Crafts suburban garden.

John Sutton Nettlefold (from Guest Keen and Nettlefold) commissioned JL Ball (a local Architect) in the early 1900's to design a house in Edgbaston Birmingham in the Arts and Crafts style. John's wife, Margaret, designed the garden taking inspiration from the garden designs of Gertrude Jekyll. The family lived in the house but sold it in 1919 when Margaret moved to Gloucestershire to be closer to John. His health had deteriorated and he was in hospital from 1914 - 1930.

The Wheelock family purchased the property and then in 1925 John Macdonald Nicholson bought the house. He introduced a few changes in the garden by adding the Japanese Bridge and, as a result of his interest in alpine plants, he constructed a scree garden. John decided to bequeath the house and gardens to the University of Birmingham.

The Visitor Centre and Walled Garden

The Scree Garden

The Glasshouses contain plant collections from around the Globe.

The Carnivorous Plant House

The Orchid House - as you can see the camera lens steamed up as soon as I entered!

The Arid House

The Alpine House

Beautiful displays of daffodils around the gardens.

Those of you who have read my posts on previous visits will remember that I have never had chance to enter the woods and walk to Edgbaston Pool. On this occasion with more time to spare we managed it. The woodland and pool are an SSSI (a Site of Special Scientific Interest) presently leased by Edgbaston Golf Club.

Bird species seen on the pool included Coot, Canada Geese, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe and Little Grebe.

Bluebells are starting to flower.

Sandstone Rock Garden

Woodland Walk - birds seen included a Blackcap (my first this year) and a Chiffchaff.

There were hundreds of this yellow flower (looking like something out of "Day of the Triffids"). Apparently they are Yellow Skunk Cabbage.

A few Marsh Marigolds along a stream.

Cowslips and Snakeshead Fritillaries lining the stream and

more Marsh Marigolds. Other names for this species include May-blobs, Kingcup, May Flower, Water Bubbles, Molly-blobs, Water-blobs, Polly-blobs,Golden Knobs, Water Goggles, May Bubbles and Bulls'eyes!

The Herb Circle is very pretty in summer with all the flowering herbs.

Some of the beehives were very active with quite a few honey bees coming and going.

Flower Clock by Dave Barnes based on the original by C.Linnaeus. The idea is that plants will open their flowers at various times during the day acting like a clock. I am trying to persuade B to make a circular bed in our large main lawn to try out the idea. So far without success!

We briefly visited the Courtyard, Scullery and Kitchen but didn't have time to look round the rest of the house. I am hoping we can return in the summer.

B spent a lot of time chatting to volunteers in the Print Room. It was interesting to learn how things were done before the days of computers.

I wasn't quite sure what to make of this sculpture - I am not really over keen on most modern work.

Daffodils and blossom by the car park.

Sorry for the large amount of photos - I appear to have gone a little OTT! :)

Looking at the preview some of the photos don't seem to have loaded. I have had huge problems with this post as when I came to add the text a few hours after uploading the photos blogger appeared to be playing up. I would type just one word and it would take about a minute to appear on the screen! Hence there are fewer words than I intended!!


amanda peters said...

Great to look through all the photos as it's a smashing place. Think Daffodils have done well this year.
Glad you managed to do the Woodland walk,it all looks lovely.

Thanks for the ID on moth, had thought it was a Brindled Pug, one of the early pugs. Got it confirmed on ispot to day.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks very much Amanda. At least I had a couple of hours there instead of the usual half hour dash round!! :) Daffodils seem to have been flowering for months :)

So pleased you got the moth id confirmed. I've never thought about putting them on ispot - that's a good tip! Haven't had the trap out for a while - so much overnight rain but will try later this week.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Wow those carnivorous plants. Wouldn't want to go to sleep in there

Rosie said...

This looks an amazing place and a wonderful garden. I love all your photos but the daffodils look amazing, they have been wonderful all over this year. The woodland walk looks great too I'm looking forward to the bluebells coming out in our nearest woods. I'm so glad you have identified those funny yellow pond plants for me as I saw some at Bridgemere last week and photographed them but didn't know what they were - Yellow Skunk Cabbage, now I know:)

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - Thanks Simon and lol! I nearly came home with a few of the sundews from the plant shop for our bog garden!

Rosie - Thanks very much Rosie - yes, the gardens (and house) are superb. I discovered them a few years ago and wish they were closer as I would go there all the time!

I should have made it clear in the post (but lost patience due to the typing problem!) that Edgbaston Pool and woodland are separate from the Woodland and Wetland Walk actually in Winterbourne Gardens. So glad I helped with the id - I'd never seen the plants before and it took a bit of google searching to track them down. They were an amazing sight!

Toffeeapple said...

Skunk Cabbage made me smile. They look similar to Lords and Ladies except for the colour.

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thanks :) Yes, They do look like Lords and Ladies in fact initially when trying to find out what they were I kept putting yellow wild arum into google search. Skunk cabbage isn't a very pretty name! Although I think the name comes from the sweet and sickly scent they emit to attract pollinators!

Ian said...

What a wonderful garden and stunning woodland walk that you have captured so well with your photos. I am pleased that you took so many as it does show the full extent of a garden that we missed on our UK trip.

Ragged Robin said...

Ian - Thanks so much - am so pleased that you enjoyed the post especially as you missed the house and gardens when you were over here. I seem to remember that you did go to some superb places - many I have never been to! :)

Wendy said...

I'm always interested in botanical gardens so I've loved finding out about these at Winterbourne House. I'll remember Yellow Skunk Cabbage, although I've never come across it before! The marsh marigolds by the water are lovely, I wonder why this particular plant has so many different names, or perhaps it's because these names are remembered. The flower clock looks fascinating - I've never heard of the idea before. I look forward to reading about your next visit!

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - Thanks so much :) Its the first time I've spotted the Skunk cabbage - fascinating plant. I heard about the flower clocks a few months ago (on Twitter I think) so was delighted to find the plaque/sculpture at Winterbourne. Its a lovely idea although I am not sure how well it would work but it would certainly be good for pollinators if you planted the right species :)

Deb said...

So nice to see the blossom on the tree and i love the alpine house. Thanks for sharing such a lovely post.:)

Deb said...

I meant Arid house, but i like it all anyway. ;)

Ragged Robin said...

Deb - Thanks very much - I am so pleased you enjoyed the post :) The glasshouses are a real joy to walk round but the Arid house is my favourite too :)

Chris Rohrer said...

Love the green carpeting! You gotta love the tropical and desert arboretum. I always love the tropical ones here. But the desert....well it's all around me:) Love that steamy shot of the plants. I always enjoy your visits here.

John Scurr said...

What a lovely and interesting garden which I am sorry to say I have never heard of. I take it that this is the "Botanical Gardens" shown next to Chad Valley on teh OS map. That really is quite close to the centre of Birmingham. Having been enthused by your pictures I must make a note to visit next time I am in that area


Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Thanks so much Chris - so pleased you enjoy the Winterbourne posts. I always think of you and the landscape where you live when I am in the Arid/Cactus house :)

Ragged Robin said...

John Scurr - Hi John Thanks so much glad you liked the gardens so much - they really are a hidden gem.

I think you may be looking on the map at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Westbourne Road, which are nearer to Chad Valley which are different gardens. Winterbourne House and Gardens are a little bit further from City Centre (though still fairly close!) and are the Botanical Gardens of the University of Birmingham in Edgbaston Park Road, B15 2RT. Their website is www.winterbourne.org.uk. (I don't think link will work but please copy and paste.)

Birmingham Botanical Gardens are nice but, I visited there a couple of years ago, and, in my view, Winterbourne are much better and quieter! To me the former were more like a big park whereas the latter is just like a huge private garden and you can also visit the house interior (all Arts and Crafts). Tearoom is good too! If you visit (and hope you can and also perhaps do a post) try and do the walk down to Edgbaston Pool.

Hope you see this comment but I will leave a note in a comment on your blog when you next do a post.

John Scurr said...

RR, Thanks for sorting me out on this. I had, as usual added 2 & 2 and made 5! On my map I saw the Botanical Gardens nad assumed that was them. In February I paassed along that piece of railway along the canal for the first time. Reference to University Station made me realise how close I had been.

Ragged Robin said...

John Scurr - Its a very easy mistake to make John as both are Botanical Gardens and the Birmingham one I would imagine is by far the better known of the two.

From memory (son used to go to Uni of Bham) the University Station is just about within walking distance of Winterbourne especially if you cut across the campus. You could easily spend three or four hours there at least. Good tea room too :) Barber Institute of Fine Arts (if you like paintings) is more or less opposite and is good for a wander round and its free! Winterbourne isn't too expensive compared to National Trust properties. I do hope you can visit at some time and would love to see your photos.