Wildflowers at Stowe

Enjoy swathes of wildflowers emerging throughout the gardens in a wide variety of colour and species. Discover what to look out for and download 'A mindful meadow meander' walk map as you take a route to relaxation and get closer to nature.

What’s special at Stowe?

An area not to miss is the Grecian Valley which is coming to life and bursting with wildflowers. The Valley is carefully cultivated each year to encourage wildflowers through a specific method undertaken called 'flail cutting' by our gardens team. In late July/early August after the wildflowers have finished flowering and are going to seed the grass is taken away for hay making. This ensures the ground doesn’t become too fertile as wildflowers 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.

A meadow freshly cut meadow in late summer
A meadow just cut in late summer with a stone temple in the background
A meadow freshly cut meadow in late summer

Some of the meadows we cut ourselves and use the 'green hay' to spread on less floriferous areas. We also use the grass in our own compost. It's mixed with leaves and wood chip to make a mulch for the borders and shrubs. Other meadows we work with local farmers to remove the hay. 

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. Keep your eyes peeled next June and July to see them flower again. 

Take a seat in our mown sensory circles as you get closer to nature at Stowe
A meadow full of long grass with a tall monument in the background
Take a seat in our mown sensory circles as you get closer to nature at Stowe

New this year...

This year we invite you to explore the far reaches of our wildflower meadows as you follow our new mown path routes to areas not usually accessible and taking in far reaching views across the garden and park. Our mindful meadow meander takes you on a route to relaxation and invites you to sit in our sensory circles, breathe deeply, listen to the hum of insects and appreciate the delicacy of nature around you.

The wildflower walk route includes uneven, grass paths and so isn't pushchair or wheelchair friendly. 

A local farmer cuts our meadows at Stowe
A cut meadow with a pillar in the background.
A local farmer cuts our meadows at Stowe

Stowe's wildflower area

Yellow buttercups in a meadow with the Palladian Bridge in the background at Stowe, Buckinghamshire

A great wildflower meadow

Hawkwell Mead is one of our strongest meadows. We mow this meadow in March and again in late July/early August when all the wildflowers have gone to seed and the seed has dropped, ready for a great meadow next year.

A tree lined terrace

A developing wildflower meadow

Pegg's Terrace is a developing wildflower meadow at Stowe. To help give the wildflowers the best chance we mow this area in March, May and late July/early August.

A mown path through grass and trees at Stowe, Buckinghamshire

A wildflower meadow in the future

An important part of our work is developing wildflower meadows of the future. In some areas we need to remove a lot of nutrients to give the wildflowers a good chance. In these areas, we mow the grass every month.

Why we manage our meadows

What wildflowers can I see?

White flowers on long green stems beneath a bright blue summer sky

Oxeye daisy

Commonly seen along roadsides, you'll find these pleasant flowers by Pebble Alcove.

Bluebells at Brimham

Bluebell

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.

Greater Knapweed flowering

Knapweed

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.

Red campion flowers

Red campion

With dark pink petals, you'll spot them swaying in the wind with bees buzzing to and fro.

Cowslips at Lyveden

Cowslip

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

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. 

Colourful mix of flowers in the Walled Garden Wildflower Meadow

A mindful meadow meander - Wildflower walk

Take a route to relaxation around the bright hay meadows of Stowe, home to a wide variety of bold and delicate wildflowers in bloom throughout the summer. Follow our mindfulness tips and sensory prompts as you switch off and get closer to nature.