Sweet Pea Week at Easton Walled Garden, Lincolnshire

‘A Dream of Nirvana – Almost too good to be true’ – President Roosevelt on a visit to Easton, summer 1902

Easton Garden 1

Easton Walled Garden

It’s a long old drive from Felixstowe in Suffolk up to Leeds. I was in no hurry to leave the comfortable and welcoming rectory in Alderton and join the busy A14 west and then the A1 north. The weather had taken a distinct turn for the better so I checked my list of possible stops en route and decided on Easton Walled Garden in Lincolnshire just a minute or two from the A1. By then I’d have more than half of the journey behind me. According to the website the gardens are open Wednesdays to Fridays and Sundays throughout the season. Dash it! I was travelling on a Monday. But wait. What’s this? The gardens had some additional opening days – daily for a week in February for the snowdrops and daily for a week 30 June to 6 July (this year) for Sweet Peas! My luck was in.

The gardens are at least 400 years old. They cover 12 acres of a beautiful valley just off the A1. Home to the Cholmeley family for 14 generations, the gardens were abandoned in 1951 when Easton Hall was pulled down. The revival of these gardens has been ongoing since late 2001.

Easton Hall 19C

Easton Hall in the 19th century

There had been a house on this site since at least 1592 when Sir Henry Cholmeley (1562-1620) came to live in Lincolnshire on the death of his Uncle, Robert Cholmeley, in 1590 … Sir Henry built his house on a site overlooking the River Witham and this is believed to have survived until the beginning of the 19th Century …In 1805 the house was altered and enlarged by Sir Montague Cholmeley, first baronet (1772-1831). … In 1872 [the hall was described] as ‘large and handsome, with large and elegantly furnished apartments, containing many valuable paintings and other works of art’. … [The Hall] was requisitioned at the start of the Second World War. It became home to units of the Royal Artillery and and of the 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (of Arnhem fame) for four years, in which time it suffered considerable damage both to the fabric of the building and to the remaining contents. In 1951 the Hall was demolished. … The family still own the estate and have been the driving force behind the gardens revival.” [From the website]

gatehouse

The Gatehouse

remaining buildings

The remaining buildings from the orchard site now a wildflower meadow

 

Canalised R Witham

River Witham canalised by the Elizabethans …

ornamental bridge

… shored up and bridged by the Victorians

Easton Garden

Easton Garden. In the middle is the Yew Tunnel.

Yew Tunnel

The Yew Tunnel

Birds from hide

Bird Feeders from the Viewing Area

Having stretched my legs and inspected the extensive gardens I returned to the cottage garden, the pickery and the history and information rooms to look at the sweet peas and learn more about them and Easton Hall and Gardens.

Pick your own

Pick Your Own

Sweet pea inspections

Sweet Peas in the Cottage Garden

SP display 2

Sweet Pea Specimens

Even the worst flower arranger cannot fail to make a decent fist of arranging sweet peas. To start they usually look best on their own, they will look good in a wide-necked or a narrow container and whatever you do, the scent will make up for any artistic shortcomings. The only rule to be aware of is to make sure your container is in proportion to the size of the stems. Short grandiflora peas look good in little vintage medicine bottles. Large flowers for exhibition can be placed in traditional vases up to about 10 inches high.” [Information Board]

Display

Beautiful! – And smell even better.

 

6 comments on “Sweet Pea Week at Easton Walled Garden, Lincolnshire

  1. sherry says:

    How lovely. What glorious luck that you stopped! Didn’t you feel like you had stepped back in time?

  2. On my list too Barbara, I have been envying anyone who visited during sweet pea week. I ordered a lot of my seeds from there this year and they have been heavenly…and now I am looking at the prices!! I have been picking about £5 worth a day for the last seven weeks:-)

    • I only heard about the garden quite recently and it’s not quite on my way between Leeds and Norwich but it worked out perfectly on my return from Suffolk. Lucky you … or rather hard-working you! Beautiful and so sweet smelling.

  3. I dearly, dearly adore sweet peas and never see enough of them. And oh, that yew tree walk! Looks like that island where the Dufflepuds lived in Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

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