Summer highlights in the garden

Take inspiration from Acorn Bank's beautiful gardens this summer. From the lily border to the orchard, the gardens are overflowing with colour and bursting with fragrance at this time of year. We've put together a list of our favourites to look out for when you visit.

Climbing sweepeas are a great way to fill vertical space

Roses and climbing flowers

June and July are the best months to see (and smell!) the highly fragrant shrub roses outside the Dovecote. Climbing and rambling rose varieties can be found in the walled garden. Make the most of your vertical space at home by taking away some inspiration from the various climbers you'll see here, including sweetpeas, jasmine, Virginia creeper, climbing hydrangea, wisteria and chocolate vine.

The herbaceous border at Acorn Bank

The colourful herbaceous border

The herbaceous border in the Sunken Garden is at its peak in late June and July. Standout flowers include colourful campanulas, red valerian, foxgloves and pink opium poppies. The Sunken Garden is also planted with anemone, bergenia, harts’-tongue fern and London pride, which means something is always in bloom all year round in this area.

A view of the herb garden at Acorn Bank

The fragrant herb garden

The herb collection sits within its own peaceful walled garden and peaks towards the end of June. With over 250 herbs it’s the largest collection in the National Trust’s care. Historically, these plants all have a purpose, whether it’s for culinary, medicinal or industrial uses, or for dyeing fabric, removing toxins from soil or even banishing bedbugs from the house. See if you can spot valerian or angelica when you wander through.

Children looking in the Ornamental Pond for newts

Newts in the ornamental lily pond

The Sunken Garden is an oasis of calm which revolves around the ornamental lily pond, home to all three species of UK newt. Smooth, Palmate and the Great Crested all live here and can be spotted sunbathing from May onwards. They use the nooks and crannies in the dry stone walls around the terraces as hiding places.

Senior Gardener Heather Birkett checking the fruit in the apple orchard

Apples ripening in the orchards

The orchards are dripping with fruit in August – between the main Walled Garden and the Top Orchard there are 175 mouth-watering apple varieties ripening on the branch. Alongside apples you’ll also find damsons, pears, quinces and mulberries maturing plus a wide range of soft fruit.

Vegetable patch at Acorn Bank filled with pollinator friendly plants

Bee friendly veg patches

This year, vegetable beds have been planted up with pollinator-friendly flowers to attract bees, butterflies and other helpful insects. We hope they might inspire you to have a go at growing fruit and veg at home, with handy tips at each bed and examples of what to grow in smaller spaces.

Close-up of an orange-yellow Martagon Lily at Acorn Bank, Cumbria

The delicate lily border

The Lily Border is packed with pink martagon lilies, yellow Pyrenean lilies and orange leopard lilies in late June. These are all variants of Turk's Cap lily, which have pretty pendulum shaped flowers rather than the larger, more showy lily varieties. The border is also filled with hostas and ferns.