Pelargoniums on the unique Auricula Theatre at Calke © NT / Gillian Day

Pelargoniums on the unique Auricula Theatre at Calke

What's in bloom?

Calke Abbey gardens are alive with summer colour.

Pelargoniums make a vibrant display in the auricula theatre and the flower borders are busy with blooms.

Wander into the physic garden and relax on a deck chair surrounded by the sights and scents of summer fruits and herbs.

Kitchen garden

Yielding more produce than was needed, with the surplus being sold to local traders, the kitchen garden thrived until the outbreak of the World War II. Just like the house this garden deteriorated with neglect.

Physic garden

Scarecrows guard our precious herbs and vegetables

Dating from the 18th-century, this garden was originally created to cultivate medicinal herbs and plants and over 350 herbs were planted. Today, it still provides fresh herbs to the restaurant in the stable block.

The orangery

Flaking paint reflects the years of neglect the orangery suffered

Being the oldest surviving garden building, the orangery has had repairs to combat the neglect of the 20th-century. The cracked plaster and flaking paintwork have been kept to reflect the dereliction of the Calke estate.

Pleasure grounds

Carpet of bluebells in Calke Estate's Serpentine Wood

The informal, and dense, planting of trees and shrubs in the early 19th-century provided a natural screen from the mansion and provided a perfect setting for summer picnics and evening strolls.


The Grotto in the pleasure grounds

The grotto is a typical inclusion of an early 19th-century landscape that adds a sense of fantasy and romanticism to the garden. It also served as a cool retreat during a summer stroll.

Gardeners' bothy

The gardeners bothy a striking eighteenth century garden building © NTPL

Once the nerve centre of the 6 acres of formal gardens this building reflects the faded grandeur of the mansion. Peer into the ground floor rooms which are full of equipment from yesteryear.