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Things to do in the garden at Saltram

Orange grove in the garden Saltram Devon
Orange Grove in the garden at Saltram | © National Trust Images Paul Harris

With beautiful views of its Palladian exterior, the garden and grounds at Saltram remain a peaceful space throughout the year. Filled with many impressive specimens of rare, ancient and exotic trees and plants, the garden is a horticultural delight. Bursts of colour adorn each area throughout the seasons and the heady scents along many paths fill the senses during a walk.

Saltram's garden in summer

The summer border

The Summer Border next to the Chapel Tea-room is at its brightest and best. The team of garden staff and volunteers completely re-worked the border a couple of years ago so it continues to be full of new life and fresh colour all summer long.

Main lawn loveliness

The main lawn is the ideal spot to admire the garden, surrounded by the House, Chapel, and beautiful beds full of interesting plants from around the world.

Exotic and unusual

The garden at Saltram is home to many exotic and unusual shrubs from all over the world. Many of these come into their own during summer, such as the flowering Hoheria, Eucryphia, lochroma and the huge tropical leaves of the Tetrapanax.

The garden is also home to a wide variety of hydrangeas, from mop-heads to climbers, small trees to shrubs. Throughout summer they provide splashes of colour across the garden.

The Orange Grove

As well as being the summer home to citrus trees, by late summer the secluded Orange Grove is full of other bright colours. The warmer season brings gladioli, such as ‘Georgette’, ‘Lemon Drop’ and ‘Evergreen’. These are joined by Alstroemeria ‘Flaming Star’ and ‘Red Beauty’ as well as daylilies.

Then from mid-summer to autumn, tropical planting bursts into life at grove. Hot colours are provided by dahlias like ‘David Howard’, ‘Bishop of Oxford’ and ‘Honka’, which mix with drifts of Canna indica ‘Purpurea’, ginger lilies and Ligularia.

Tender annuals like the impressive Ricinus communis ‘Red Giant’ and tropical flowering bulbs, like the pineapple lily, add to the show. All this grows against the backdrop of topical shrubs, which includes the jelly palm, rice paper plant and Japanese bananas.

Citrus blooms

Delve deeper into the garden and you'll discover the 18th-century working Orangery. The citrus trees are kept indoors during winter but in May each tree is lifted and placed outside. When the sun comes out in summer the citrus fruits ripen up and exudes a lively scent.

The Great Terrace

The oldest part of the garden is The Great Terrace, which runs through the ancient woodland on the north side of the garden, overlooking the River Plym from the Temple to the east all the way to the Castle Folly to the west. A lot of work has been done in recent years to thin out the overgrown planting to allow light back onto the ground and it now provides a beautiful setting for a relaxed woodland stroll.


Sit and enjoy the sun on the lawns beside the Serpentine. Surrounded by long grass and wildflowers, there are butterflies and other wildlife to spot in this little slice of the parkland.

Huge specimen trees at Saltram

The garden is home to some magnificent specimen trees. Several are older than the house and garden buildings and have been a part of Saltram throughout its history.

A famous tree

Did you know that there is a film star tree in the garden? The over-400-year-old veteran English oak at the far end of the lime avenue starred in the 1995 film, Sense & Sensibility, and a treehouse was built in it just for the film.

Family walking through lime avenue at Saltram in Devon
Spring in the garden at Saltram | © National Trust Images Paul Harris

Saltram's Lime Avenue

Saltram is home to the Lime Avenue, a quarter-of-a-mile-long lime avenue, which is well worth taking your time to amble down and appreciate. It's believed to be the longest of its type in Europe.

Changes over time

When viewed from either end, you can see that the whole avenue is noticeably leaning to the north, having grown up being exposed to the prevailing south-westerly winds.

As well as being a striking linear feature of the garden, the avenue also helps to absorb all that wind, thereby protecting the many tender and exotic plants in the heart of the garden.

The Orange Grove

The Orange Grove was originally designed as somewhere for the citrus trees to thrive during the summer months and these Mediterranean plants can still be found here today.

There are lemons, limes, grapefruits, manadarins as well as Seville oranges and blood oranges in the planters in the grove and outside the orangery.

Sheltered from the wind, with full sun all day and a pond at the centre preventing the grove from getting too warm, this is the perfect spot for citrus trees.

Saltram boasts relatively mild and dry winters, thanks to its coastal location, and rarely gets frost or snow. This, combined with the Orange Grove’s special design, produces a microclimate that means the grove’s surrounding beds are home to interesting and exotic plants.

Running with the ‘orange’ theme, head gardener Martin planted fiery-coloured plants around the grove.

Trees around the grove

An impressive black walnut and eastern hemlock grow to the south, with the former supporting a huge vine. All of these protect the Orange Grove from the wind.

A coast redwood tree and stately old yew grow behind the chapel and rhododendrons and mature Chinese windmill palms add to the tropical backdrop.

Silent Space

At Saltram we are pleased to offer visitors a 'Silent Space' in the Orange Grove. We lead hectic lives. It can be difficult, particularly for those of us who live in urban areas, to find five minutes peace in natutre. In 2016, garden writer Liz Ware set up a not-for-profit project and called it Silent Space. Visitors to these quiet areas are invited to switch off from technology and to take time to reflect and relax surrounded by green space. The Orange Grove at Saltram is one such space, along with several other National Trust properties across the country. It's the perfect spot to unwind, listen to the running water and connect with nature and with yourself. The Orange Grove is a Silent Space every morning 10-11am.

Coming up in the Garden

Garden tours are making a return to Saltram every other Wednesday.

Join our Head Gardener/Senior Gardener for a walk and talk around Saltram's beautiful garden, gain some insider knowledge of how its looked after, what to expect to see in the coming months and maybe even discover some gardening tips to take home with you. Tours start at 11am by the stables bed, tours are free of charge but garden admission applies to non members. The next tours are 7th and 21st June and 5th and 19th July.

The white exterior of the house at Saltram with lawn in front of it

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