The gardens have been cared for by the Blandy family since 1885. They were started by the Conde de Carvalhal over 200 years ago with tree plantings.
Our minds were challenged frequently by the scale of the gardens, not to mention their contents.
Our walk started from the Gatehouse to see a drive of Plane trees, some of which had grown around the wire fencing over a period of years.
The trees and shrubs were magnificent, as ever, with a range of colour architecture, shape and texture all being displayed with enthusiasm – even at a height of some 500 metres!
Some of the areas gave an impression of parkland with grass areas in which tall and spreading trees grew to a great height and probably to a great age too as the result of Conde de Carvalhal’s efforts.
On a different level, the borders gave an impression of a cottage garden with annuals and perennials growing in a riot of colour and disorder.
The rose garden is a new feature where the roses have been collected from the estate and put together in a more formal manner. Those growing on arches glowed in the sunlight.
The rectangular water features complete with lilies coming into flower and the mandatory frogs sitting on them gave yet another aspect to the garden. All this levelling the ground in an otherwise undulating and sloping landscape.
Rockeries and waterfalls could compete with ease with some of the Chelsea Flower Show gardens as they had their plant colonies well developed over many years. The waterfalls with a range of ferns taking advantage of the cool shade and humidity offered by the setting.
There was something for everyone to see including Mr and Mrs Chaffinch stealing crumbs from our Tea House cake while we drank our coffees.
Of course all this was helped by good weather, good company and interest in the plants.