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Things to see in the garden at Arlington Court

Azaleas in the garden at Arlington Court, made up of bright reds and pinks
Azaleas in the garden at Arlington Court | © National Trust/Katy Anderson

From the ever-changing display of flowers in the formal Victorian Garden to the picture-perfect pleasure grounds, the garden at Arlington Court is beautiful whatever the season. No longer simply used for leisure purposes, it also grows produce and provides a sanctuary for wildlife including native bees and rare butterflies.

Spring in the Garden

As the azaleas bloom in all their glory, apple arches blossom and bluebells appear, there’s no better time explore the gardens at Arlington.

Pick up our ‘What’s looking good in the garden’ leaflet, to guide you through the must-see garden highlights. From wisteria arches to flowering blueberries and wild garlic there is plenty to explore.

Specialised garden talks

To find out more from our gardening team and what goes on behind the scenes, don’t miss out on our specialised garden talks. Taking place every Wednesday at 12:30pm, meet at the main entrance to the garden.

The Walled Kitchen Garden

This kitchen garden would once have grown produce for the house at Arlington Court.

Since the early 1990s the team have slowly restored the kitchen garden – the walls have been recapped, paths reinstated, the central dipping pond cleared, and a greenhouse rebuilt.

Fruit trees have been trained along the walls and a soft-fruit cage erected, and flowers are grown for display in the house.

The Victorian Garden

The formal Victorian garden you see today was developed in the early 19th century and includes herbaceous borders, basket beds filled with colourful annuals, an attractive fountain surrounded by arched trellises, beds of seasonal planting and banks of colourful azaleas.

On the top terrace is a conservatory used to grow a variety of plants from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, countries visited by Arlington Court’s last owner, Miss Rosalie Chichester, on her world tour in the 1920s.

A pond with flowers surrounding the outside and a sundial in the middle
Arlington Court garden in spring | © National Trust/Katy Anderson

The pleasure grounds and park

The grounds surrounding the house at Arlington are fashioned in the picturesque style; parkland was introduced to the estate, and planting within the pleasure grounds was used to frame a series of designed views.

See how the Wilderness Pond provides shimmering light, while Deerpark Wood presents contrasting shade.

Wildlife at Arlington Court

Spot butterflies

When the summer comes around, Arlington is a great place to spot a variety of butterfly species.

The team are continuing to work with Butterfly Conservation monitoring and recording butterflies out on the estate.

How many can you spot?

Here are some of the best places to look:

  • The Victorian Garden, especially in late summer when the verbena bonariensis attracts lots of peacock and comma butterflies.
  • Where the grass has been allowed to grow long around the house is very good for meadow brown butterflies and you might even spot a painted lady.
  • Out on the estate, the Winford Valley and around Tucker’s Bridge are home to silver-washed fritillaries from late June to August.

A target species is the rare and nationally threatened marsh fritillary which has been recorded at Arlington in the past but not in recent years.

The team are doing specific surveys for it and maintaining its suitable habitats in the hope of it returning to Arlington Court.

A close up of a male Marsh Fritillary butterfly on a purple orchid
A male Marsh Fritillary on a purple orchid | © National Trust Images / Matthew Oates

Bees at Arlington Court

Different features in the garden are being used in order to try to create nesting sites for bees; from long grass to log piles, stone walls to bamboo bundles, to provide a haven for wildlife.

Look out for the recently planted bee-friendly border with a range of flowering plants that will extend the season for foraging insects, creating a source of pollen and nectar beyond the summer months.

Watch the busy bees pollinating the apricot tree in the glasshouse, the lemons in the conservatory and the blackcurrants in the fruit cage.

A visitor admires a small elephant statue in the Long Room at Arlington Court, Devon

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