The first signs of wildflowers at Stowe

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See the first signs of wildflower emerging throughout the gardens here at Stowe in a wide variety of colour and species from late spring into summer.

An area not to miss is the Grecian Valley which is coming to life and will soon be bursting with wildflowers. The valley is carefully cultivated each year to encourage wild flowers through a specific method undertaken called flail cutting by our gardens team.

Each summer the grass is taken away for hay making. This ensures the ground doesn’t become too fertile, as the wild flowers like soil that is quite poor. Fewer nutrients in the soil encourages a wider variety of wildflowers and discourages vigorous grasses. This process is naturally helped along by the natural springs that occur in the Grecian Valley which helps create diversity of wildflowers.

What’s special at Stowe?

Every year one of our most brilliant displays is of spotted orchids – 100s can be seen at the far end of the valley. We haven’t planted them – they have occurred naturally over time thanks to our work maintaining the area for wildflowers. Find them this month along the path leading to Lord Cobham’s Pillar.

What wildflowers can I see?

  • Oxeye daisies – you may have seen these commonly on road sides. These are just coming to life by the Pebble Alcove.
  • Bluebells – in the Grecian Valley and Sleeping Wood.
  • Clover – red and white.
  • •Cowslips can be seen lining the Bell Gate Drive on your walk down to the gardens entrance.
  • Knapweed – butterflies love this. It’s quite a spectacle to see 100s of butterflies in the Grecian valley on a hot summer’s day.
  • Red campion – dark pink petals.
  • Lots of buttercups.
  • 'Eggs and bacon’ – low plant with small yellow and bacon coloured flowers hence the name!
  • Various vetches will also be coming through in the next month or so across the gardens.
  • Speedwell – tiny blue flower among the grass is in flower now particularly by the lakes.
  • Herb Robert can be seen in late summer by the Grotto.
  • Cuckoo pint also known as Lords and Ladies can be found with beautiful berries.
  • Wood anemones are in display between the Hermitage and the Cascade.