Lynn and I spent an extremely pleasurable afternoon recently at the nearby Stody Lodge Gardens.
The 14-acre gardens are at their most spectacular in Spring, when they show off over two hundred varieties of rhododendrons and azaleas, as well as innumerable other exquisite plants. The estate is perhaps best known for its amazing Azalea Water Gardens, laid out over four acres (the size of three football pitches), within a deeply atmospheric forest setting of gargantuan Scots Pines and other remarkable specimen trees.
I can only hint at the magnificence of these gardens, via the photos below that we took on this first visit. To whet one’s appetite even more, it’s a good idea to view this video on the Stody Lodge website
There’s a lovely walk from the car park to the white Georgian house with its East Anglian pantiles.
Lynn particularly loved the purples and blues of the borders to the front of the house, featuring Aquilegias, Alliums, Alchemilla Mollis, Lavenders and Verbena Bonariensis.
The neat yew hedging sets off the rambling richness of the rhododendrons.
The gardens are a feast for the senses, with new, delicious fragrances around every corner.
Looked at close up, the beauty of some of the blossoms is a sight to see.
Viewed from different angles, the variety and vibrancy of colours is often amazing.
There are numerous long walks between fragrant shrubs and towering trees.
We enjoyed identifying the plants – though this thriving Smoke Bush (Cotinus) brought back sad memories of our own poorly specimen in one of our previous gardens.
This (these?) Paeonies look ready to explode into flower.
Full size Alliums!
We thought these bushes were Weigelas (not certain); whatever they are, they’re pretty impressive.
Aah, the Rhododendron …
No idea what this is – possibly an Azalea variety? There were many exotic plants all around the borders.
Beauty in small things …
… and in colossal things.
I’m always intrigued by the variation in bark colours and textures.
The water gardens, with tiny islands and little bridges, were just a joy. A haven of beauty, peace and tranquility.
There’s a fascinating account of how the water gardens were developed on this page of the Stody Estate website.
This is a place we’ll be returning to again and again!