Belton's spring gardens
Belton was designed to impress, and the gardens reflect the refined tastes of generations of the Brownlow family from the early eighteenth century right up to the twentieth century.
The Pleasure Grounds
In early Spring the Pleasure Grounds become carpeted in swathes of daffodils, pale yellow primroses and delicate blue scilla. Later in May, interlaced with native wildflowers, the naturalised grounds gradually give way to bluebells. At this time of year, we ask visitors to keep to the paths and help protect the wildflower display.
The Italian Garden
Inspired by the 1st Earl’s Grand Tour of Italy, Sir Jeffry Wyatville was commissioned to design this sunken garden in the early nineteenth century. Successive Brownlow generations enhanced and enriched its plantings and sculpture. Boasting a fountain centrepiece, topiary, and borders full of vibrant colour, the Italian Garden is a delight to discover amid bright spring bedding displays.
We’re returning much of the garden’s lost planting scheme as part of a 10 year restoration project. Belton’s gardeners are working from old photographs to recreate the deep herbaceous borders running through the centre of the garden. They will bring added colour and interest over the coming months.
In its heyday, elaborate cast ironwork, decorative trellises, a 30 foot high fountain and more detailed and extensive planting schemes were a feature of this historic garden. All of which we hope to reintroduce as part of the Italian garden restoration.
Overlooking the Italian Garden, this protective environment is home to a collection of lush foliage and exotic blooms. Designed by Jeffry Wyatville in 1810 and built in 1820, Belton’s orangery was built around a cast iron sub-frame, making it the first garden building of its type in England.
Wyatville’s design was shown at the Royal Academy. To mark its 200th anniversary last year, we returned the colour of the woodwork from white to green, in keeping with its original colour. The windows now look less prominent, accentuating the slim stone piers on either side.
Behind the Orangery are herbaceous borders and four medlar trees enclosed by the old brick garden walls.
The Dutch Garden
The 3rd Earl commissioned the Dutch Garden in the late nineteenth century. The colourful parterres, divided by topiary-lined gravel paths, were inspired by a Dutch design.
Heading north through the garden, visitors can discover Cibber’s eighteenth-century sundial. Caius Gabriel Cibber, a renowned sculptor of the period who also worked on St Pauls Cathedral and Hampton Court Palace for Sir Christopher Wren.
Carved from limestone, the pedestal of the sundial shows Cronus, god of time, and Eros, god of love. The feature inspired Helen Cresswell to write ‘Moondial’, over 30 years ago.