Explore Charlecote's gardens in winter
The lush swathes of colour in the borders are long gone, but there are still delights all around the gardens in winter, with hints of spring to come - you just have to look a little harder.
Take a stroll around the gardens that Mary Elizabeth Lucy loved so dearly in Victorian times and whatever the weather, you’ll find our gardeners – staff and volunteers – at work all year round. They’ll tell you more if you want to chat, or just take a seat and enjoy the results of all their hard work.
There’s always something to discover in the gardens whenever you visit. Snowdrops and jewel-pink cyclamen are in flower in the coldest days, soon followed by yellow eranthis (winter aconite) popping out of fozen soil in the borders. Look out for the first snowdrops in sheltered spots before Christmas.
Look out for hellebores and pots of bulbs in the Avenue Plant Centre after Christmas and take a little memento of Charlecote home with you.
Stoop to find a hidden delight in the woodland garden that you wouldn’t have spotted if perhaps you hadn’t sheltered from a shower. Scented shrubs like mahonia, skimmia and viburnum will lift your spirits in winter, you’ll often be aware of the perfume before you see the flowers.
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 hellebore collection here begins flowering in January and continues until April – singles and doubles in beautiful shades of pink, white and cream.
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 planting plan. The back-breaking planting of thousands of new bedding plants each autumn brings colour in early spring, with brave polyanthus giving us a little colour through milder winter days from December.
Enjoy the scent of Christmas box (sarcococca var. humilis) by the benches overlooking the croquet lawn - you'll often notice the scent on a warmish day before you reach the plant.
The Orangery tea-room once housed fashionable Victorian ornamental exotics, and the little thatched summerhouse next to the Orangery has undergone restoration work, funded partly by the proceeds of raffle tickets bought by our kind visitors in previous years.
Mary Elizabeth had this summerhouse built as a playhouse for her grandchildren and it was based on one that she remembered from her childhood in Wales.
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 mathematical relationships between the house, the gatehouse and this lawned forecourt. It always looks stunning on a frosty day and the nerines brighten this space until Christmas.
And don’t forget to look out for our friendly robins, happy to hop about close to our visitors.
When you buy anything from our Avenue Plant Centre next to our car park, you can be sure that every plant, implement or ornament you buy for your garden will be providing funds for us to care for Charlecote's borders.