at the start of this month I decided to join, or rather re-join The National Trust. I love the places they look after so well, and I love the fact that entrance is free once you are a member. It's not cheap ( £120 a year for a family) , but if you make a few visits it's very good value for money.
The first place I wanted to visit this year was the gardens at Calke Abbey (pronounced Cork).
Having been only once before...last February....I was keen to see what they looked like in spring. I loved the glimpse of the house through the fresh green foliage.
We followed the path past the house and I stopped to admire the pretty cowslips which were everywhere.
Looking back at the house.
And forward to the estate church.
We had a peep inside and admired the colourful window.
Then headed back towards the gardens. Oooh Bluebells. Lovely.
Through the garden door we went.
And we came straight upon the Auricular theatre.....It's the highlight of the garden I think. Just look at all those pots. There must be a hundred or more.
They are so pretty in close up.
And so many different types.
I just loved all the old terracotta pots and the galvanised watering can.
I can see why these plants are given such special treatment.
The theatre is in the corner of this lovely walled garden. There was so much more colour than on our previous visit.
And there was promise of a fabulous wisteria display to come. I'd love to return and see that.
Though hubby and eldest seemed more interested in the buildings :0)
It was a chilly day but the colours of the wall flowers and the palm trees give the impression of warmth in this photo I think.
We were actually very glad to enter a glass house for a bit of warmth
Were we sat down momentarily
To read the sign.
to gaze up at the glass dome
and down at the succulents.
And another angle, with a fun willow sculpture.
Ducks peered down on us as were wandered about.
Next we entered the vegetable garden, where scarecrows guarded the crops.
and dilapidated corners caught your eye.
I was fascinated by this old lead water container.
Lets go through the wonky door ( one of many wonky doors at Clake)
And into the cosy stove house.
It smelled so nice in here and I loved all the different Pelargoniums.
Just look at those leaves.
Back outside in the cold pretty pots made me smile.
Then, still looking down, I noticed a small creature on the rough ground.
Awwww. Mr Mouse must like the stove house too. Bless him.
He posed for a while, then turned his back on us and said "no more pictures" :0)
Here we had fun working the restored water pump.
And I admired the Tulips under-planted with forget-me-nots. So effective.
We loved all the old gardening paraphernalia.
Out in the pleasure gardens there were Bluebells.
And pretty Deer.
But I think it was the surprising sight of so many massed Cowslips that I loved the most.
As we walked along I found an Auricular flower amongst them. I can only suppose it had fallen off a plant that a visitor had bought. Isn't it exquisite.
From a single bloom, to a massed display, spring flowers always make me smile.
After a couple of wet walks on Saturday to get in a few miles this walk was the perfect way for me to reach the finish line in my challenge to walk 100 miles in April.
I'm now a few miles ahead of schedule in the walk 1000 challenge.
That feels good