This is the second in a series of posts featuring gardens I particularly enjoy photographing. Listed here are three top quality destinations that offer abundant opportunities for capturing superb images, across the seasons. Details of more photogenic gardens will follow soon.
Arley Hall and Gardens – Cheshire
The centrepiece of these superb gardens is the double herbaceous border. Planted in the mid 19th century, this is one of the first features of of its kind in the country and provides an intense display of planting and colour from May right through to the end of the season. In late spring photograph the alliums that rise above the burgeoning clumps of perennials all around. Return in late June and July to a breathtaking display of colour – photograph discrete groups of plants, or capture the wide sweep of the borders, with their abundant perennials of complementary hues. Later in the year the tones are more subdued, but the gardens are still well worth visiting – see my post: Arley Hall and Gardens in October.
There’s a lote more to photograph at Arley, including the Flag Garden (above), with its roses, lavender, climbers, annual bedding and view over the red brick wall to the picturesque clock tower. Other areas such as the Walled Garden with its pretty fountain, the Herb Garden and Holm Oak Avenue are also stunning.
Erddig Hall – Wrexham
The lovely 18th century formal gardens at Erddig Hall, near Wrexham, North Wales, were restored in the 1970s, when the property was passed to the National Trust. The house is visible from most parts of the garden – with one of the best views being from the end of the ornamental canal, which stretches away from the east side of the property. Here you can capture the symmetry of the gardens, with the house and lines of lime trees reflected in the water. This is particularly beautiful in the autumn, with the low slanting light and golden leaves adding a timeless beauty to the scene.
Closer to the house is a Victorian parterre, complete with richly coloured spring and summer planting schemes. When I last visited in September, the warm, late-summer light accentuated the vibrant colours of petunias, pelargoniums, verbena, lobelia and salvia – a scene that I photographed with the house in the background, as well as across the parterre featuring the side wall with its pretty clock. For more images of the gardens at Erddig, including the parterre, visit the Gardens A to H gallery on my main website.
Cholmondeley Castle Gardens – Cheshire
The highlight of these spectacular gardens has to be The Temple Garden. Set around a lake, the planting here changes dramatically through the seasons. In spring you can photograph swathes of daffodils bordering the lake, abundant blossom framing waterside statues and brightly coloured azaleas. In October the great trees around the garden join the smaller cherries and acers in an intense display of colour, with the golden tones reflected in the peaceful waters. Visit when it’s sunny, as I did when I took the image above – on that day I was invited to the gardens by Lady Cholmondeley and was allowed access to one of the normally private small islands in the lake, where I set up my tripod; however similar images can be captured from the public areas.
In summer photograph the Rose Garden, which also features herbaceous planting, honeysuckle and lavender. Elsewhere there is an impressive pebblestone mosaic that can be photographed with the early 19th century Gothic revival castle in the background, as well as a Silver Garden and Terrace and Lily Pond garden, best photographed in the summer. For more images of Cholmondeley, visit the Cholmondeley Castle Gardens gallery on my main website.