The sun was out and the April skies were a sight to behold. It was a perfect spring day as we trundled our way through the rolling Northamptonshire countryside, on a visit to Coton Manor for my mum’s birthday.
The 10-acre estate is home to what is in many ways a quintessentially English country garden. Cascading woodland planting, orchards brought alive with a blooming carpet of narcissisi, wildflower meadows and bog gardens punctuated by thoughtfully placed flowing formal water features and ponds.
A herb garden and rose arches, swathes of tulips, magnificent magnolias and cherries in full blossom, carefully clipped box and yew. A seemingly ancient wisteria that has woven itself into the 17th century manor house’s brickwork.
But then there’s the unexpected. Charming hens, handsome cockerels and conga lines of exotic ducks wandering about the manicured flower beds. The woven willow stag standing proudly overlooking the wildflower meadow.
But perhaps the most unexpected are the striking and still sleeping flamingoes in the small watercourse at the bottom of the main lawns that overlook the meadows. A total treat and little E was certainly very taken by the salmon-pink and buff-pink beauties.
And after perusing the gardens and stopping for a while to take in the glorious spring display under a cherry tree bursting with blossom, we took a look around the plant nursery. Whilst I wish I had an unlimited budget, sadly I had to limit myself to a few buys, amongst which were a delicate purple pelargonium/geranium and a Bowle’s purple wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa). The geranium will go at the base of the clematis I’ve planted to cover a boring and bare stretch of fencing, whilst the anemone will go under the fruit trees, and hopefully self-seed itself to help create a pretty spring display in years to come.
If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend a visit to Coton Manor gardens. I’m looking forward to visiting again in early summer to see the grounds in its next glorious phase of flowering and fruiting.