Coworth Park’s seasonal garden highlights
January 31, 2022
Introducing Terri Crow
It’s a real privilege to see how the picturesque landscape at Coworth Park has evolved over the years. I’ve been head of gardens here since it first became a hotel in 2010, and I love ensuring that guests can enjoy scenic views whatever time of year it is. Let me show you some of my favourite things to look out for at our hotel for all seasons.
As you enter the grounds in spring, you can’t miss the swathes of golden daffodils standing proud. Their striking splashes of colour acts like an enthusiastic announcement that spring has arrived in all its glory. Next, our array of tulips start to appear on the terraces. Tulips can be labour intensive but their vibrancy makes them well worth the effort. Be sure to see the distinctive burnt orange and copper-coloured Cairo varieties in the sunken garden.
My absolute favourite flowers are alliums. I adore all the different varieties from pure white and pale pink to deeper blues and purples, which you can enjoy from May through to July. Another spring delight at Coworth Park is our abundance of magnolias. These huge white and pink blooms are a real showstopper, and if you sit on the bench in front of the spa they make a spectacular photo backdrop. For a final spring flourish, see our carpet of bluebells in the woodland.
As spring gradually gives way to summer, we’re treated to another dazzling display. This is when the rose garden is at its height with beautiful blooms bordered by wonderfully fragrant lavender. Our most scented rose is the gorgeous Gertrude Jekyll, it’s also the earliest to flower.
For further fragrance, we have two spectacular Weeping Lime trees, one beside the Mansion House and one in front of the spa, that produce the most incredible perfume in July. I love these trees almost as much as the bees do. You can also catch wafts of lilac and phlox as you wander around the estate.
The Upper Terrace is my favourite place at this time of year. We’ve made it symmetrical so it’s very pleasing to the eye, and it’s home to both traditional and loose planting. From here, you can also gaze out across the magnificent meadow from early June.
A whole, new colour palette appears in autumn. From late September, the trees come into their own. Suddenly I’m surrounded by a spectacular show of fabulous shades of red, gold, yellow and bronze, making everything else pale into insignificance.
Now’s a good time to seek sheltered sunny spots in the garden. On the Upper Terrace, crab apples ripen and attract wildlife, making it a great place for birdwatching. The roses enjoy a last burst of growth, until the first frost comes around late November.
One autumn, when we cleared the meadow, I saw a group of kites spread their expansive wings and swoop down for prey in the newly exposed soil – a truly magnificent sight. I also love seeing deer grazing in the woodland. You can see where they have been by the neat ‘skirt’ of leaves on the trees at head height.
Never underestimate the beauty of a wintry landscape. There’s something very special about witnessing the first early-morning frost of winter, spanning out across the polo fields and it’s not unusual to see pheasants roaming around.
Shrubs take centre stage at this time, including the spiny-leaved evergreen Mahonia in sunny shades of yellow. The bright red stems of Manchurian cherry and dogwood are other sources of colour.
Cheery pink nerines offer a warm welcome at the hotel entrance, while daphnes continue to share their delightful flowers and scent. In the run up to Christmas, we put lights in the trees outside the Mansion House and mistletoe can be seen in the taller trees. Best of all, when it snows overnight and I’m the first one to see it in the morning, I get a really magical feeling.
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