Croome's summer garden

Katherine Alker, Garden and Outdoors Manager, South Worcestershire Katherine Alker Garden and Outdoors Manager, South Worcestershire

Wild flower meadows and flower beds bursting with summer colour greet you on a walk around the parkland.

Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, the famous 18th century landscape designer, ensured that there was something interesting to see throughout the seasons at Croome.

Throughout the garden roses will be coming into flower so keep your eyes peeled for the beautiful and delightfully scented blooms.

‘Rosa de l’Hay in flower near the Temple Greenhouse
 ‘Rosa de l’Hay in flower near the Temple Greenhouse
‘Rosa de l’Hay in flower near the Temple Greenhouse

The privet will be covered with delicate white flowers, not often seen as the flowers are usually trimmed off in topiary and hedge trimming.

The striking purple-flowered cardoons will be putting on a magnificent show in the large flowering studs in the evergreen shrubbery.  These architectural flowers stand proud above the bed, bringing some structure and a vibrant dash of colour.

Ted, a garden volunteer inspects the cardoon flowers
The garden team inspecting the cardoons
Ted, a garden volunteer inspects the cardoon flowers

The plants have been brought out of the Temple Greenhouse, the building which was once used to house the 6th Earl of Coventry’s exotic plant collection and which was heated by a fire in the bothy behind.  In the summer the windows are opened up and we hope that this year the the Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) will produce it’s exotic looking flowers again, and there will be another great show of big blue flowers from the Agapanthus.

A stroll around the grounds brings the sweet, heady scent of the flowering  lime trees, delicate fragrance of the honeysuckle and mock orange or the luxuriant fragrance of the lilac and rock rose.

Wlidlife in the park
Croome bee on flowers in summer
Wlidlife in the park

Out in the meadows early in the summer it’s looking like being a bumper year for the parasitic yellow rattle, which parasitizes the grass. There is also lots of smooth leaved hawksbeard and birdsfoot trefoil.

Lupins in the garden at Croome
Lupins in the garden at Croome
Lupins in the garden at Croome

We are delighted to have 2 species of orchids in the parkland at Croome. We have not planted them or sown seed, so they must have been brought in on the wind or via bird droppings. 

Pyramidal orchid, Anacamptis pyramidalis

The pyramidal orchid grows in a range of habitats including chalk grasslands, coastal regions, scrub, road verges, abandoned quarries and railway embankments. Its common name comes from the bright pink, pyramid-shaped cluster of flowers. It flowers in June and July.

Pyramidal orchid at Croome
Pyramidal orchid at Croome
Pyramidal orchid at Croome

Common Spotted Orchid, Dactylorhiza fuchsii

The Common Spotted orchid is the most common of all UK orchids and the one you are most likely to see. It grows in many different habitats including woodland, roadside verges, hedgerows, old quarries, sand dunes and marshes. Common Spotted orchid gets its name from its leaves which are green with purplish oval spots. They have delicate, pale pink flower spikes which flower between June and August.

If you see one of these beautiful plants whilst exploring the park, get down in the grass and study the exotic-looking flowers, but please don’t pick them – we want them to seed so that we get more orchids across the park every year.

Common Spotted Orchid in the meadows
Common Spotted Orchid in the meadows
Common Spotted Orchid in the meadows