Hello Wimpole, my old friend …

I’ve come to tend to you again.

Yay! With the re-opening of some National Trust parks and gardens, a phased return of volunteers has begun at Wimpole Estate. Cautiously and where it is safe to do so (i.e. no indoor or visitor facing roles yet). However, this means that some of us lucky gardeners have been allowed back to tidy up four months of nearly unopposed, exuberant plant growth (and that’s not counting the weeds). And it feels divine!


Stepping through the outer entrance to the Walled Garden

Actually, the whole place looks surprising good. The two gardeners not furloughed are worth their weight in gold and have done a brilliant job of keeping on top of maintenance and seasonal jobs.


The Apricot borders are passed their first flush, but are full to bursting with promise.

The gardens opened to visitors a couple of weeks after the park and in order to keep to social distancing guidelines the team has put in place a one-way route round the gardens. It seems well-chosen, with most areas covered, although it does means that you necessarily cover a lot of ground.

The Walled Garden is full to bursting with colour:


Close-up of Eryngiums and daylilies in the Apricot border

There are fun surprises like this forest of cottonthistles, which has burst from the ground:


There has been an explosion of cottonthistles (onopordum) in the glasshouse beds

Drama is round every corner (here helped by the weather conditions):


Golden marguerites seem to have completely taken over the foxtail lily bed

The East-West Borders, which I look after, have just gone passed their poppy-filled glory (but you can check out this video made by Forester Sadeik during Lockdown for glimpses of them if you are interested)


Many wheelbarrow loads of exhausted flowers and weeds have already been taken to the shredding pile in the yard. There are plenty more to come!

Luckily the beds are so full that the weeds blend in. I have to say the rosebay willow herb is quite glorious in flower!


The annual poppy-fest in the East-West borders, across the middle of the walled garden, is over, but salvias, hollyhocks and ammi are taking on the challenge

It was lovely to see that the self-seeded Ammi major that I asked my colleagues not to weed in the spring is putting on an eye catching display just now.


You can see why wedding planners love Ammi major!

The north-facing walls of the inner garden are loaded with ripening cherries. Happily the restaurant has just re-opened and will take the fruit to make couli for desserts. Earlier harvests have been taken to a local homeless charity.


Yummy cherries in the walled garden

The golden oats in Orchard Walk are wand-a-full (sorry) as you leave the Walled Garden:


Stipa gigantea fronted by Achillea ‘Terracotta’ in the Orchard Walk

The one-way route takes you to the exit passed the Stumpery, which has truly settled its bones into the lush prehistoric-looking greenery (ferns, acanthus and mahonia) this year:


Wimpole Stumpery

And so onwards, back to the new Hardwicke Gate entrance.

It is great to be back!


About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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13 Responses to Hello Wimpole, my old friend …

  1. Pazlo says:

    What a wonderful tour.
    I’m certain the gardens are glad, too, for their caretakers’ return!


    • Glad that you enjoyed it. The plants are definitely glad of the extra space created by weeding! Wildlife is noticeably more prevalent. There is currently a family of stoats living in the crate stack in the yard and they are helping to keep the nibbling critter numbers down.

  2. Eliza Waters says:

    Oh, you must be so chuffed! I loved the video with all those gorgeous flowers waving in the breeze, being kissed by bumblebees (and didn’t mind seeing the cute gardener either 😉 ).

  3. Cathy says:

    A beautiful garden to work in! That must be so uplifting seeing the gardens being tended again. The poppy video is great too. They did a good job keeping up with all the jobs with just two of them. I especially love that big bed full of golden marguerites. 😃

    • The gardeners have achieved remarkable things. I even found all the seedlings I’d planted in March alive (if pot-bound) in the glasshouse last week!! That anthemis is in exactly the right place as you come into the inner walled garden from the yard to be a wonderfully cheering first sight.

  4. What a feast for the eyes. It is lovely to be able to visit gardens again. I am hoping to enjoy a few more Donegal gardens.

  5. shoreacres says:

    What a gorgeous place. It was interesting to see ‘Wimpole’ in this context. The only thing I’ve ever associated with ‘Wimpole’ is The Barretts of Wimpole Street. ‘Stumpery’ was a new word for me, too!

    • Lol, Stumperies are very Victorian, but seem to have made a bit of a resurgence in gardens around here. There’s a big one at Ickworth and one at Holkham. They are an excuse to indulge in ferns and making a ‘secret’ place in the garden. There is a lot of very nice property in Wimpole Street, London! Sadly, I’ve not seen the film.

  6. susurrus says:

    I’ll bet it is wonderful to be back. Those cherries…! i’m glad they have been going to a good home.

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