Voted by the public as Britain's Best Garden in Landlove Magazine Awards 2016, a Pinetum, Rock Garden and Formal Garden all work together to make up the beautiful surroundings of Cragside, Northumberland.
Lord Armstrong's garden
The Formal Garden is a magnificent example of a Victorian garden. Laid out in three terraces it covers over three acres and is an idyllic, colourful spot to take in views of Northumberland.
The Orchard house
One of the largest surviving glasshouses dating from the 1870's, the building has three sections and was built to provide shelter from the Northumberland climate for the cultivation of hardy and tender fruits. Today, there are large earthenware pot sets producing many fruits including figs and pears.
The Italian terrace
The Italian Terrace is the centrepiece of the lowest level of the Formal Gardens. The Loggia is a cast-iron structure, typical of Armstrong’s innovations, combining familiar forms and material with a glass roof and sides and an open front.
Cragside’s carpet bedding uses approximately 20,000 plants which have to be raised in the nursery with different designs used each year. Each bed is about 18 metres long by three metres wide and usually takes about six weeks to complete.
One of Europe's largest rock gardens
One of the largest rock gardens in Europe surrounds the house on three sides. The west garden contains fine specimens of heath and heather, while the lower west garden has plantings of both evergreen and deciduous shrubs. The south garden has plantings from the warmer parts of Europe and New Zealand, along with azaleas.
In the Victorian era it was regarded as a supreme symbol of wealth and status to own an arboretum or Pinetum. Our Pinetum holds a fine collection of conifers mainly, but not exclusively, from North America. Young trees have been planted in this area to redress the problem of balance, with the original trees maturing and dying at the same time.
UK's tallest Scots pine at Cragside
It's official, we've got the tallest Scots pine in the UK on our land. At 40m (just over 131ft and the same height as 10 double-decker buses stacked one on top of the other); the conifer has been confirmed as the largest of its kind by officials from the Tree Register.
April and May: spring displays and fruit tree blossoms, heaths and heathers on the Rock Garden
June: rhododendrons in full bloom cover the estate
July: herbaceous borders and beautifully-scented roses
August and September: tender perennials in flower, dahlias and the summer carpet bedding provide a riot of colour
October and November: fruit in the Orchard House ripen; bedding remains colourful until first frosts, planting for spring displays gets underway.
At the Formal Garden car park you’ll find one of the best spots to see Cragside's wildlife. Our wildlife hide provides a good opportunity for anyone with a fancy for birds, squirrels and nature to do a bit of spotting.
Looking after the Formal Garden
Caring for the gardens is an all-year-round job, and Gardener Holly Darby will be sharing with you the work that the team get up to. She'll be talking about how the gardens change over the seasons and keep you up to date with the jobs that are keeping the team busy as they move through the year. Read Holly's updates here
There are plenty of family adventures to be had at Cragside. Have fun with 50 things, explore the woodland, get lost in the Labyrinth, head out on a family walk, build a den, visit the Young Engineer’s zone, get messy on the Barefoot Walk and whizz down the slide in the Adventure Play Area!