Saturday, 1 May 2010


When we dream of the perfect Lake District garden, we begin to imagine many things...

Slate strewn pathways winding their way up a wooded fellside. Towering trees above, alive with the sounds of spring birdsong amongst the fresh new green leaves. Beneath them, majestic broad leaved rhododendrons heavy with flower and sweetly scented. Sheets of bright azaleas and large collections of regal magnolias, their huge chalice shaped flowers open to the dappled sunshine filtering through the canopy above.

Twisting trails take us up past all this and more as we make our way across rustic bridges spanning rushing streams where cascades and small waterfalls are framed with mighty Gunnera and Lysichiton.

The woodland walks continue ever higher with glimpses through the trees to sparkling Windermere below and later broad views out across the lakes to the mountains in the distance. Later, this natural garden’s rocky outcrops blend seamlessly with the wooded fellside and the bare, high felltops beyond.

Finally, as we wind our way back down through this dreamy scene we are enchanted by shimmering drifts of bluebells, Erythroniums and primulas carpeting the ground all around.

This is not just a dream however, it is sublimely beautiful reality at Stagshaw, south of Ambleside. This supremely wonderful eight acre delight is for me, Lakeland’s most magical garden in May...

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