Other people’s gardens (No.2 in an occasional series)

This time, Wallington in Northumberland. Wallington is near Morpeth, and owned by the National Trust, and we visited in May while on holiday in the area.

Arrival at the property is complicated and convoluted, and after finding the car park there are winding paths to negotiate to reach the stable block and house. The stables are notable for having one of those strange clocks that only has one hand (by design):

Just the one hand, honest.

The house itself is fairly solid and unimaginative:

Wallington House

We weren’t very taken with the interior – for some reason they had altered the route from that in the guide books, so we ended up wandering around vaguely and trying to guess which room we were in. It had a lavishly painted central hall with late 19th/early 20th century romanticised versions of local history and history of the family who owned the hall, which was rather lovely and reminded me of Meissen Castle. But the rest was a little disappointing. So we cheered ourselves up with a cream tea and a walk to the Walled Garden.

To get to the Walled Garden, you cross the (somewhat dangerous) main road and walk for about 10 or 15 minutes through some very picturesque woods dotted with odd bits of sculpture:

And the occasional babbling brook:

At one point you find yourself on a tree-lined walk

part way along which is a tucked-away portico-ed summerhouse

with a view to a hidden lake:

Eventually, after more winding paths than you can shake a stick at, you come to the Walled Garden itself. Now, my experience of walled gardens is that they’re usually the kitchen garden – lovely, but functional. Not this one. This one would, by itself, grace any stately home but here it’s just a part of an enormous designed landscape.

This is what you see when you first enter:

And this barely scratches the surface. What you can’t see from here is all the walled gardens-within-the-garden, walks and ‘rooms’ behind tall, weathered brick walls, lined with herbaceous borders, and beyond them, yet more lawns and shrubberies. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

In the bottom left of the photo above, you can see a pool. This is fed by a water feature in the wall above it:

Swimming Horse water feature

The Swimming Horse you see there is the crest of the Trevelyan family, owners of Wallington. Why am I telling you this? Well, Wallington is not all that far north of Durham, where I went to university. And at Durham, I was in Trevelyan College – named for the family, and our college crest was the Swimming Horse.

Enough university nostalgia. We made our way down one side of the gardens

photographing flowers (well, I was)

Candelabra Primula

Some late bluebells hanging on

A striking blue hardy geranium

and reached the less formal lawns at the far end of the garden.

Then the return, through walled nooks and corners

their weathered bricks colonised by plants

and past more beautiful flowers

I have no idea what this is, but isn't it pretty?

and bees going about their business

to the glasshouses which overlook the gardens:

In front of the glasshouses, more splashes of colour from these, which look like a relative of Bellis perennis, the daisy:

a fiery orange euphorbia:

and alliums, always a favourite:

On the way out, one final piece of sculpture to say goodbye (or is it hello? He’s so two-faced…)

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