Explore Charlecote's gardens this summer

Long border with alliums in early summer at Charlecote Park

Take a stroll along Charlecote’s herbaceous borders in summer and discover something new in flower every week.

From the colourful formal parterre to the shady tranquillity of the woodland garden, you’ll find old favourites and unusual rarities, colourful annuals and perennials to delight you.

Beautiful borders

Mary Elizabeth Lucy loved these gardens so dearly in Victorian times that she’d often be at work in the borders by 6am.

Today you’ll find our gardeners – staff and volunteers – at work every day, whatever the weather. They’ll tell you more if you want to chat, or just take a seat and enjoy the results of all their hard work.

Our garden volunteers plant thousands of bedding plants to create the colourful parterre
Volunteers planting summer bedding in parterre garden at Charlecote Park
Our garden volunteers plant thousands of bedding plants to create the colourful parterre

In early summer the alliums are a striking feature along the long border and croquet lawn borders – the starry purple ones are Allium christophii and the white balls that our visitors love are Allium ‘Emma’ and 'Mount Everest'.

Colourful delphiniums are one of the summer delights along the croquet lawn borders
Croquet lawn delphiniums in summer garden at Charlecote Park
Colourful delphiniums are one of the summer delights along the croquet lawn borders

Look for the mulberry trees by the entrance to the woodland garden in late July and early August - you're welcome to try the fruit when it's black like a blackberry but be careful! The fruits are very soft so make sure they don't stain your clothes - they wouldn't transport well which is why they are rarely grown commercially.

Admire the summer planting in the parterre in all its technicolour glory
Aerial view of Charlecote parterre garden in summer
Admire the summer planting in the parterre in all its technicolour glory

Victorian influences

Mary Elizabeth’s presence still influences the gardens. Her formal riverside parterre was carefully reinstated twenty years ago and twice a year our gardeners skilfully co-ordinate a new design and organise the back-breaking planting of thousands of new bulbs and bedding plants. The summer scheme is planted in mid-June and is in full colour by early July.

Clouds of blue nepeta at the front and tall frothy yellow thalictrum at the back - enjoy the gardens
Croquet lawn border in summer garden at Charlecote
Clouds of blue nepeta at the front and tall frothy yellow thalictrum at the back - enjoy the gardens

Shady informality

Now known as the woodland garden, Mary Elizabeth’s Wilderness flourishes beyond the long border. Her Victorian visitors – like our visitors today - would have been entranced by rare and unusual shade-loving plants and ferns in this tranquil haven.

Our hydrangeas - like "Dolce Kiss" here - love the shady woodland garden
Hydrangea Dolce Kiss in woodland garden at Charlecote Park
Our hydrangeas - like "Dolce Kiss" here - love the shady woodland garden

The Victorian craze for ferns was called "pteridomania" and it's worth taking time to discover the different species of our fern collection and their varied forms.

Take time to enjoy the different forms of our fern collection in the woodland garden
Ferns in the woodland garden in summer at Charlecote Park
Take time to enjoy the different forms of our fern collection in the woodland garden

Former playhouse

Our Orangery tearoom once housed fashionable Victorian ornamental exotics, and the little thatched summerhouse next to the Orangery was restored thanks to the proceeds of raffle tickets bought by our kind visitors in previous years.

Its interior is still too fragile for us to allow entry to visitors, so we usually keep it closed but you can discover more with our article here.

Modern formality

You can see how the Lucy family influence still prevails in the gardens today with the topiary in Green Court. The present baronet, Sir Edmund Fairfax-Lucy created the formal design based on 3-dimensional mathematical relationships between the house, the gatehouse and this lawned forecourt.

Creating the best possible environment for our wildlife is an important part of our work
Meadow brown butterfly on eryngium in gardens at Charlecote Park
Creating the best possible environment for our wildlife is an important part of our work

Bugs, bees and butterflies abound in the gardens. We have a team of volunteers who count and monitor the butterflies throughout the summer. And don’t forget to look out for our friendly robins, happy to hop about close to visitors’ feet.

Planting Charlecote Park's gardens with wildlife in mind means we see plenty of butterflies all summer

Recording Charlecote's butterflies 

Butterflies are among nature's most important pollinators. See what you might discover on a stroll through our gardens and parkland - and find out how we're working with the British Butterfly Trust.

Visitors with wheelchair in garden at Charlecote for access

Access for all 

Find out more about accessibility for all our visitors.