Seasonal Garden Highlights
Restored after years of neglect, the 15 acres of pleasure grounds at Brodsworth are now some of the most remarkable Victorian gardens in the country. With tunnels, bridges and paths creating a series of visual surprises, and drifts of wildflowers to delight the modern visitor. Take a journey through a year of seasonal garden highlights at Brodsworth Hall and Gardens.
Brodsworth Hall in Spring
At the start of the new growing season Brodsworth is alive with colour. Daffodils, bluebells, aconites and 500,000 snowdrops adorn the wildflower lawns and woodland floors providing a vivid reminder that winter is over and spring has arrived.
The Fern Dell's fine collection of dwarf bulbs start to put on a show too as the temperatures begin to rise with the magenta flowers of Cyclamen poking through the fresh new fronds accompanied by Iris and Primula around the trickling cascade.
After their winter trim the formal gardens are looking very sharp with hundreds of different shapes, shades and textures in the expertly clipped topiary, some of which is over 150 years old.
As you enter the flower garden 10,000 spring bedding plants including Viola, polyanthus, Bellis and forget-me-not dazzle the eye with tulips and hyacinths embellishing the design and providing a contrasting splash of colour.
Keep your eyes peeled for the odd early rose too. Rosa primula in the Rose Dell is a particularly early flower but a warm spring can inspire several to bloom before the end of May.
Brodsworth Hall in Summer
Amongst the cool clipped evergreen borders, visitors are greeted by vibrant splashes of colour, not least from the Flower Garden.
THE FLOWER GARDEN
The Flower Garden is bedded out each summer in the high Victorian style, with a range of plants used by Victorian head gardeners including cannas and gingers for dot planting with plants such as Salvia, Gazania, Ageratum and Verbena forming the main parts of the design.
The plants are chosen so that their eventual height creates a tiered effect, something very popular in the late 19th century when vivid and intricate carpet bedding was the height of fashion. As always, the fountain will be running on the hour, every hour for 15 minutes to add to the spectacle of the bedding scheme.
OVER 100 VARIETIES OF ROSES
As you move down into the Pleasure Grounds, which are set in an 18th century quarry, the scent of the Rose Garden greets you even before you can see it. Its 45 metre long pergola draped with scented climbers forms the central axis of the garden with box-edged rose beds on either side containing over 100 varieties of historic rose. These make June a wonderful month in this corner of the garden.
The herbaceous border on the west side of the rose garden is cared for by our volunteers who have chosen mostly mid to late flowering plants to take over from the roses later in the season. Through extensive research we can be sure that all the plants in this border would have been available to our Victorian predecessors so it's a real snapshot of the past.
The species rose collection in the nearby Rose Dell provides a wonderful contrast to the formality of the Rose Garden. Many of the specimens are in full flower during early to mid summer with colours ranging from white, through pinks and reds, to bright and vivid yellows. This collection contains over 70 different species of wild rose from all over the world with the raised paths and topography of the dell providing the ideal viewing platform.
The lawns at Brodsworth lived through several decades without close mowing to become a valuable rare remnant of magnesium limestone grassland rich in wild flowers. Milkwort, rock rose, cowslip, rest-harrow and several native orchids flourish here from late spring through to mid summer.
Summer bulbs such as Ornithogalum, Lilium and Allium in the Fern Dell punctuate the vivid green foliage of over 100 varieties of ferns that help to provide a cool contrast during the hot summer months. Dotted amongst the ferns are dozens of varieties of dwarf conifer and several sub tropical species including palms and tree ferns.
BRODSWORTH HALL IN AUTUMN
Autumn is the time of year at Brodsworth when the historic influences truly jump out at you. A fine collection of ornamental trees display their autumn colours and the formal garden frames the hall in beautiful autumn light.
With the summer-flowering plants having passed their peak, the formal 1860s gardenesque style is dominant with fine topiary and hedges in the high Victorian garden coming to the fore.
Scattered throughout the gardens is a large selection of over 100 attractive holly cultivars, which start to berry up in autumn, showing splashes of red, yellow and orange in amongst the lush green and variegated foliage.
Many of these plants are survivors of the original Victorian garden thanks to the holly's ability to thrive in shade cast by more vigorous species, as well as the expert restorative pruning performed by the garden team. These berries will benefit the 150 species of bird, that the RSPB have recorded in the garden, providing a grand feast to help fatten them up for the long winter ahead.
Brodsworth also boasts several fine examples of Acer, which are at their best at this time of year, their rich autumn-leaf colour showing up brilliantly against the backdrop of the darker clipped evergreens.
In the Fern Dell and woodland areas, autumn bulbs such as Cyclamen hederifolium and Colchicum autumnale help to ease us in to winter using the last of summer's heat to put on a show of pink, white and lilac flowers.
BRODSWORTH HALL IN WINTER
As Brodsworth was a country house lived in all year round by the Thellusson family, the garden was designed and planted to give year round interest. True to this original intent there is still plenty to see at Brodsworth today throughout the cold winter months.
The evergreens of the formal garden are now looking better then ever. The long summer days of clipping have defined sharp lines and sweeping curves to catch the eye at every turn and the holly berries provide dimples of red, yellow and orange amongst the many shades of green. In the Flower Garden the spring bedding, usually planted out in autumn, grabs any winter sun it can to help add a burst of colour to your winter walk.
Over a half a million snowdrops and 200,000 aconites force their way through the frosty ground all around the garden in late January, casting a haze of white and yellow across the lawns and throughout the woodland floors.
In the Fern Dell Cyclamen coum lifts its dainty magenta blooms through the fronds of several evergreen ferns, whilst the tree ferns and palms are kept frost free by hessian and fleece blankets.