Wimpole Estate has been a part of my life since early childhood. Living in the Cambridgeshire countryside, this beautiful Estate holds a lot of hazy memories of playing in the parklands with my sisters and throwing extra large tablecloths onto the grass for picnicking with my mama. I went to primary school in the neighbouring village to where I lived and grew up, and with Wimpole Estate being just a short distance away it was always the number one choice for many of our school trips. One trip which springs to mind instantly was the Victorian style visit to the kitchen and home farm – DIY period costumes included, of course! As one of my fondest memories of this Estate, it really goes without saying that it has a special place in my heart.
So, you may find it quite surprising for me to tell you that it’s probably been about fifteen years since my last visit here. I think that having visited so many times throughout my childhood it was difficult to see the lure as an adult, I was perhaps blind-sighted by only really visiting the mansion and home farm, at least that’s all my memory could conjure up. With a little persuasion from James to visit back in November last year, I was delighted to rediscover the expanse of the parklands and the stunning walled kitchen garden too – honestly, how could I have ever forgotten about these wonderful features!? It was with that, that I promised myself to revisit during the Spring with my camera and capture all my favourite rediscoveries within the estate.
My photos have been compiled over several visits, so I have tried to arrange them in the order that they would typically be found if you too were walking through the gardens. I do hope you enjoy them and join me on this journey down memory lane…
Walking through the iron-detailed gate and into the magic of the walled garden, the abundance of Spring flowers and especially all the Alliums, bursting into full bloom again were quite a sight to immediately be greeted with. I’ve always wondered how they design the spaces of walled gardens in a way that is so intriguingly beautiful you can’t resist exploring further. The high protective walls are there to create a microclimate for the plants to thrive in, but I genuinely feel as though that’s not all that they create – the changing of the seasons is especially remarkable within the secluded and contained atmosphere of a walled garden, have you noticed this too?
It’s perhaps an understatement when I say that I was over the moon when one of our visits to the walled garden coincided with Peony season… This dreamy part of the garden was awash with bright pink and pastel-coloured Peonies, with borders upon borders overflowing with an absolutely stunning display of these magnificent, showy flowers. If you’re anything like me and regularly search the flower shops for your fix of Peonies then visiting Wimpole during this season is a must and will inspire you to no end, I’m sure of it.
The deliciously blousy white and blush pink varieties are by far my favourites, I’m fascinated by their simple delicacy and so I couldn’t have been happier to find that Wimpole sold their homegrown Peonies in their garden shop! I enthusiastically came away with three pots of my very own ‘Border Gem’ Peonies for my very own little English countryside garden. I more often than not have a vase of cut flowers in my house, but to have one of your favourite flowers planted at home where you can watch it bloom and grow through your own hard work brings so much more joy and satisfaction. Just ten minutes pottering in the garden is my perfect daily tonic.
It’s amazing just how many lovely details you can find within the walls of a garden like this when you look beyond the splendour of the flowers… Little terracotta pots atop wooden supports, weathered wooden bug houses and antique Victorian cloches protecting the newest plants in the garden; all so darling that I may just have to create a few of these for my garden too.
The arrival of wildflowers in their abundance of varieties and wildly overgrown manner is such a special sight to embrace. Wimpole Estate has one of the most incredible wildflower borders I have ever seen and although nothing can quite compare to a wild meadow of wildflowers, this visit has since inspired me to start studying plant names again. There were just so many beautiful blooms I wish I could have identified and I guess I have always found them so fascinating to photograph, it would be nice to be able to call out my favourite wildflowers and share them with you too.
Peering through the open windows of another glorious glasshouse… Being a working kitchen garden, the glasshouses at Wimpole Estate are always stocked with so many of their homegrown plants. The gardeners here do such a wonderful job growing all these beautiful plants and delicious organic produce for the shop and restaurant. Alongside growing new plants for the vegetable plots, border planting for other areas of the Estate’s gardens and also selling potted plants in the shop, a lot of the cut flowers are supplied to the Hall to create stunning displays. These are just a few small ways in which Wimpole Estate champions a greener way of gardening – isn’t it amazing and inspiring to be able to see how sustainable a large working estate like this can be!?
Following the enchanting pathway surrounding the four-and-a-half-acre walled kitchen garden, to where the orchard hides with an impressive display of apple, pear, apricot, plum, greengage, medlar and quince!
With roses trailing along the top of the garden walls and more flowers than you can count, scattering the ground en masse, it’s one of the many reasons why a walled garden holds so much charm. Over the last few months, these magical walled gardens have easily become a place of refuge for me, where I can completely lose myself and embrace those quiet moments surrounded by nature.
During the most recent trip to Wimpole Estate, James and I decided to take a lovely walk through the parklands (on one of the hottest days this year I must add!) and up to the Folly. I’d spotted this beautiful building when walking to the walled garden and through the parterre – I knew instantly that it could be the perfect location for my first weeks Bloom & Grow capture. The Folly is designed to look like a medieval ruin and was surrounded by a small meadow of wildflowers just at the highest point of the hill. With the lush green of the trees and rolling hills of the rest of the estate in the background, it was the most wonderful scene. We’d packed ourselves a picnic earlier in the day and once we reached the tower, found ourselves a comfy spot on the grass to relax and enjoy the cooler evening air amongst those wonderful countryside views.