On Wednesday we visited the historic Bicton Park Botanical Gardens - it is easy to spend a day there as there is so much to see and do. The gardens date back to the early 18th century when in 1735 Henry, the first Baron Rolle, built an Italian Garden based on a plan thought to have been prepared by Andre Le Notre, Versailles designer.
Between 1800 and 1845 the park began to resemble the gardens and parkland we see today. The Temple, Orangery, Great Lake, Palm House, Arboretum, Pinetum, Hermitage, American Garden and Shell House were created. The Hon. Louise Trefusis, daughter of the 2nd Lord Clinton, became the second wife of Lord John Rolle in 1922. She had a huge influence in Bicton's development as an important botanical resource filling the park with trees and shrubs. The gardens now have a collection of more than 11,000 trees.
In 1963 the gardens were opened to the public by Gerard, 22nd Baron of Clinton. In 1986 the park was given to an independent charitable trust company and in 1998 it was sold to new owners Simon and Valerie Lister.
As you can see it was very misty when we arrived - in fact, the light was quite peculiar for taking photos.
The gardens contain several glasshouses - The Palm House, Temperate House, Tropical House and Arid House. Unfortunately I failed to keep a record of what photo was taken in which glasshouse!
Then into the American Garden with its Shell House and super collection of trees.
The Stream Garden
The Italian Garden
Isn't this Peony gorgeous?
Path through the Mediterranean Garden
This looks like Beech Mast to me? - seems incredibly early!
I spotted a Red Admiral fluttering around the nurseries - sadly, very few butterflies were seen on the holiday.
We then returned to the car for lunch - shared by a friendly Robin!
In the afternoon we went on a 30 minute train ride on the Bicton Woodland railway which takes you through the Pinetum and up to the Hermitage returning alongside the lake. The railway is one of only two 18 inch narrow gauge railways still operating in the UK.
Apologies for the vast amount of photos again but I do tend to keep this as a personal record of our holidays/day's out. We also visited a superb Countryside Museum in the Gardens and I popped into the Church of St Mary also in the grounds but I will write about that in another post. The Gardens really were good value for money although you had to pay a little extra for the train ride!!
A Small Magpie Moth on the cottage wall spotted as we left in the morning. I had also seen a Blood Vein attracted to the porch light the evening before. I wish I could have taken the moth trap but with 4 of us travelling there is never room in the boot.
Photos marked *D were taken by D with the Canon SX50