Wildflowers at Stowe
See the first signs of wildflower emerging throughout the gardens in a wide variety of colour and species from late spring into summer. Discover what to look out for and download 'A meadow meander' walk map.
What’s special at Stowe?
An area not to miss is the Grecian Valley which is coming to life and will soon be bursting with wildflowers. The Valley is carefully cultivated each year to encourage wild flowers through a specific method undertaken called flail cutting by our gardens team. Each summer the grass is taken away for hay making. This ensures the ground doesn’t become too fertile as wild flowers like soil that is quite poor. Fewer nutrients in the soil encourages a wider variety of wildflowers and discourages vigorous grasses. This process is naturally helped along by the natural springs that occur in the Grecian Valley which helps create diversity of wildflowers.
Some of the grass also goes into Stowe’s own compost. It's mixed with leaves and wood chip to make a mulch for the borders and shrubs.
Every year one of the most brilliant displays is of spotted orchids – hundreds can be seen at the far end of the Valley. We haven’t planted them – they have occurred naturally over time thanks to our work maintaining the area for wildflowers. Find them throughout the summer along the path leading to Lord Cobham’s Pillar.
What wildflowers can I see?
Commonly seen along roadsides, you'll find these pleasant flowers by Pebble Alcove.
In the autumn of 2018, 125,000 bluebells were planted along Bell Gate Drive. You'll also find them dotted throughout the Sleeping Wood and Grecian Valley.
The butterflies just love this wildflower. It’s quite a spectacle to see hundreds of butterflies in the Grecian Valley on a hot summer’s day.
With dark pink petals, you'll spot them swaying in the wind with bees buzzing to and fro.
Look out for these bright flowers as you walk down Bell Gate Drive from the New Inn visitor centre to the gardens entrance. You'll also find them along the Oxford Avenue.
Common spotted orchid
Discover these delightful flowers in the parkland, along Lord Cobham's walk, in the Grecian Valley and along Gurnet's Walk.
And it doesn't stop there. Yellow rattle lights up Thanet Walk, lady's bedstraw borders the edge of the Elysian Fields and thousands of buttercups brighten the areas around your picnic. Across the gardens millions of wildflowers come to life in the late summer months. Ask the team at reception for the most up-to-date information about what to spot and where. If you prefer to be a little more technical, download our wildflower guide below. Also, keep an eye on our social media to see what we manage to spot!