"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

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

A Visit to Calke Abbey

I had a day out with a friend yesterday and we decided to visit Calke Abbey in Derbyshire. We've been quite a few times before and there is always something to see and do there. When you enter this National Trust property you drive along the most beautiful Lime Avenue - 82 saplings were planted in 1846 to commemorate the birth of Sir Vauncey Harpur. I saw my first lambs of the year along this stretch - unfortunately, it is not very easy to stop and take photos.

We started off by having an early lunch of pea soup and a roll (I was good for once and resisted the temptation of cake!). The soup was the best I have ever had in a NT tea-room.

Calke Abbey is described by the National Trust as an "un-stately home". It tells the story of the dramatic decline of a country house estate. The house and stables have had little restoration and you can see peeling paintwork and overgrown courtyards.

We didn't go in the house this time although at some stage I would really like to have another look round as it is stuffed with treasure and curiosities. The grassland either side of the path that leads to the gardens was covered in Cowslips and Dandelions.

Lesser Celandine and Primroses still flowering outside the walled gardens.

"Plants in Walls" - this time a Foxglove has taken root.

The present walled kitchen, physic and flower gardens were built and developed b Sir Harry Harpur.

The flower garden was full of tulips and wallflowers.

The Auricula Theatre was built in 1830 and contains different flower displays depending on the season. At present it contains pots of violas, daffodils, hellebores and grape hyacinths.

I am not sure what plant this is - it was climbing all over a wall with the clematis - but it smelt delightful.

The Vegetable and Physic Garden

"Plants in Walls" - the inevitable Ivy-leaved Toadflax.

It was a lovely day out and thanks to J for her company.


Pam said...

Beautiful gardens to walk through and so much colour! I really like the little jam jar of flowers, really simple but really pretty! :)

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - Thanks Pam. You could spend days there - the parkland is a National Nature Reserve with ancient trees etc and lots of paths and walks :) I liked the little jar too - so pretty as you say. The photo was taken in the loo's ! but there was also a little jar on each of the tables in the tearoom :)

CherryPie said...

It is nice to see your photos of the gardens. On my last visit there I was unable to visit them because the weather turned inclement before we got to them.

Rosie said...

Sounds like you had a lovely day out with your friend. I love Calke Abbey and there is always so much to see in the grounds and gardens. I love the clematis, such beautiful colours. The auricula theatre is amazing too. You do need all day to do both house and gardens so it is a good idea to split them over several visits, the house alone can take ages just gazing at all the curios in the cases and cabinets:)

Ragged Robin said...

CherryPie - Thank you. A shame about the weather - the gardens are well worth a visit and there is a lovely little church not far from them if you visit again.

Rosie - Thanks Rosie. It is super there isn't it? My friend and I only ever get about 3 hours there and on past visits managed house and church too but I do want to explore the parkland and find the Old Man of Calke!! :) Still trying to persuade my husband to visit there with me! When we went in the house it was only open for a guided tour which was good but you don't get as much chance to linger so would love to revisit house interior.

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you for your encouragement on the wildflower front! Calke Abbey is a NT property we both love to visit, though haven't been for some years. One of my best visits was in winter when there were lots of leaves covered in frost and a blackbird hopping along the iced brickwork! We have also been there in lambing season, in fact on one of their lambing days, when we were able to see some very tiny bundles of wool on spindly legs! The house is a real treasure trove - and some of the trees have huge trunks. So glad the pea soup more than met expectations!

Ragged Robin said...

Caroline Gill - Thank you Caroline and you will be delighted I am sure with the wildflowers and insects they attract :)
Your Winter visit sounds rather special :) There were quite a lot of lambs about when we were there - too far away for my lens though :( It is a great property with so much to see :)

Pam said...

Definitely sounds like a place to explore, we would be there for days I think, we've realised recently it takes us twice as long to do trails/walks because we spend so much time looking at things!

amanda peters said...

I remember you going here before, as I love the walled garden and the pots of violas, would like to have something like this in the garden.
Great set of photos so nice to see again, looks like you had a nice day.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - Thanks Pam - yes I think you could spend days there! I am the same with walks - trying to take photos and id flowers, insects. Sadly, most of the family just zoom ahead and leave me lagging more and more behind!!

Amanda Peters - Thanks Amanda. Yes, I have done quite a few posts on Calke and last year my friend and I went around the same time and I remember you and I mentioning the auricula theatre in our comments. It would make a lovely garden feature on a much smaller scale!

Pete Duxon said...

Hi RR - I really must go back to Calke!! Thanks for the tempter!

Ragged Robin said...

Pete Duxon - Thanks Pete. The place is well worth many visits - hope you get chance to return soon :)

Chris Rohrer said...

You are so good with your plant ID. I am terrible with quite a few of them. I cheat by putting the pic up into iNaturalist and put what I think it is. About half the time, I'm right. I'm ditching work today and am thinking I'm going to do some spring cleaning and maybe go to one of the gardens in town to bird and love plants:) But I'm sipping my coffee and enjoying your treks....and catching up!!! I'm wanting one of your road trip desserts right now with my coffee:)

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Thanks so much - hope you enjoyed your day - will send you a virtual piece of my simnel cake :) I use i-spot which sounds similar to your inaturalist sometimes for id help. Common wild flowers I am fairly ok on but some of the species that look very similar I struggle with!