Spring and woodland flowers

Wisteria in the gardens at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

As summer approaches, now is a wonderful time to get outdoors and closer to nature at Calke Abbey. Discover a sea of bluebells in Serpentine Wood and get lost among the orchids in the Limeyards. Find out more about the work we do to keep these fragrant flowers growing.

Bright highlights in the gardens

If you're visiting Calke's gardens this spring, the stunning displays on Calke's auricula theatre are well worth a visit. A rare survival of nineteenth-century display gardening, the theatre was originally designed to show off prize specimen auriculas and to preserve the blooms for longer.

May is the perfect time to see a bright and summery display of auriculas on the theatre. Later in the season, you'll see a pretty display of summery pelargoniums.

In the rest of the gardens, the borders are bursting with a medley of wallflowers and roses. Why not ask a gardener about the work they're doing to keep Calke's gardens growing?

Pelargoniums on the theatre at Calke
Pelargoniums on the rare surviving auricula theatre at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire
Pelargoniums on the theatre at Calke

Meadows and mowing

Calke has a number of hay and wildflower meadows around the estate, which are grazed by the estate's flock of rare-breed Portland sheep. Among the abundance of wildflowers are yallow rattle, bee orchids and common twayblade – but a real treat this season is the cowslip meadow in the Pleasure Grounds.

The meadows are cut and baled in July, depending on the good old British weather! The baling is an important part of meadow management, removing as much fertility from the area as possible to provide the right environment for the delicate wildflowers to flourish.

It's bluebell season

Wherever you go at Calke this spring, you're bound to discover a carpet of stunning bluebells. One of the best displays is in Serpentine Wood, where you can take a relaxing stroll through the woods and discover a sea of these gorgeouse blooms. Download our bluebell walk using the link below.

The Pleasure Grounds are also a great spot for bluebells. Why not bring along a picnic and enjoy lunch overlooking the house or the Deer Park, where you can spot our herd of red and fallow deer?

Bluebells in Serpentine Wood at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

Spring bluebell walk

A short spring walk at Calke Abbey through the best places on the estate to see bluebells.

Orchids of the Limeyards

June is the perfect time of year to take a longer walk to Calke's fascinating Limeyards to see the orchids in bloom. With hundreds of orchids blooming in spring, it's also a haven for wildlife.

The Limeyards have a rich industrial history, and you can still see the remains of this once-industrious part of the Calke Estate. Why not come along to one of our guided walks to learn more about this area of Calke, and the work we do to protect and preserve it?

As a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the Limeyards are carefully managed by the ranger team at Calke. The estate's Hebridean sheep are used to graze the area in autumn time, then after cutting the area, a team of volunteers helps to rake up and remove cuttings away from the site.

This year, we're embarking on an exciting project to reintroduce a rare species of butterfly to the Limeyards. To find out more about the preparation and conservation work we're doing, follow the link below.

Grizzled Skipper Butterfly

Butterfly project at Calke Abbey

Calke Abbey is embarking on a project to reintroduce a rare butterfly species, the Grizzled Skipper, to the Calke Estate.