Sunday, 25 April 2010

Tiptoe through the tulips

A few days ago, my friend and I visited the Cliveden Estate in great anticipation of seeing tulips in the beautiful Long Garden there. When we'd been there last year, we were a little too late and the tulips had started to drop their petals. This year we were sure we'd catch them in time.

So imagine our disappointment to see this....

....this time we were too early! Most of the tulips were still closed, but were obviously about to burst open at any time. Lovely topiary, though.

We continued our walk around the estate on a glorious sunny spring day, and there was plenty of colour and spring flowers to enjoy, nonetheless.

This view is one of my favourite vistas on the estate - looking down this tree-lined path with the pale young buds leading the eye down to the River Thames in the distance. A long staircase drops down to the river at the end of this path. Known as Yew-Tree Walk, as it is flanked by yews, we usually make the effort to walk up it as it really gets the heart-rate going!

Before that we wandered on to the celebrated Parterre, the formal garden in front of the magnificent house. This time we were not disappointed. The gardens, which in the past have been rather lackluster, have been newly planted with colourful spring bulbs and bedding.

This is not lackluster...

.....neither is this..

...nor this. In fact it is all quite fabulous.

(The lady in the well-coordinated top was very helpful in explaining how the gardens had been recreated according to the designs of John Fleming, the former head gardener from when the house was owned by the Duke of Sutherland.)

This view of the Parterre shows the unparalleled setting and views from this wonderful formal garden, which I never tire of visiting.

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