The Walled Garden, Temple Newsam
We've been going to Temple Newsam in Leeds for years. It's perfect for a day out as it has loads of wide open spaces for picnics, a superb adventure playground, tearoom with tables outside for sunny days and a little farm shop selling local produce alongside a few plants. From toddler age upwards, we've spent many happy days there with friends and family. Until last year I'd never been in the walled garden and I have no idea why. But I think it's because it's tucked away behind the lake, a short walk over one of several little footbridges and I'd just never spotted the signs. Once I discovered it was there it took me by surprise as it's huge, with several rose beds, herbaceous borders and a vegetable garden. It is an absolute beauty of a place, and as it's run by the council, it costs nothing to get into. It's a place to relax, to savour the colours and the scents of summer plants. I recently enjoyed a sunny morning there photographing the plants and flowers and finding so much inspiration for my own garden.
Walking up the slope to the entrance I found my path crossed several times by busy squirrels, although I failed to photograph a single one. It's fun watching them dart from tree to tree, almost taunting me as I tried to snap their picture. Once in the garden I stopped to appreciate the climbing roses, prettily framing the gate and walls, before heading through the main gate to admire the herbaceous beds.
The perennial borders are simply stunning at this time of year with so many plants at their peak. The beds are bursting with colour, scent and the really loud humming of bees going about their business. I loved watching them enjoy this heuchera (above left) and it's one of my all time favourite plants to grow in the garden too. It pops it's delicate pink head up every year in the front garden but sadly all my pot grown ones have been annhiliated by vine weevil. I spent a long time sitting cross-legged photographing the bees in the sunshine. There were so many other beautiful perennials to appreciate too, from the lupins (mine have been destroyed by the slugs this year, so I won't be getting any flowers at all, sigh), to those gorgeous blue delphiniums, brilliant orange gaillardia and velvety stachys.
As much as I love the summer flowering perennials, the glasshouse in the walled garden is by far the star attraction. It houses the floor to ceiling zonal pelargoniums collection and runs the full length of the east side of the building. There are huge pots of geraniums sitting happily beside climbing fuchsias whilst the west side is home to more exotic species like Bougainvilea, Angels Trumpets, red and yellow Abutilon and the utterly beautiful Spanish Flag plant.
I headed back outside to admire the rose beds, and have a bit of a cool down, as it gets pretty hot in that glasshouse. Disappointingly I couldn't see any labels on the different rose varieties so I don't know what any of them were, but they were lovely all the same. I sat down on a bench and simply enjoyed the moment as nobody else was in the garden, I had it all to myself with only the bees and birds for company. A pretty perfect way to spend a Summer morning.