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Seasonal Garden Gallery for Munstead Wood

View from a dense woodland with a large pink flowering Rhododendron
A May morning with Rhododendrons in flower at Munstead Wood, Surrey. | © National Trust/ Katherine Mills

Whilst we are unable to welcome visitors, we still want to share some of the highlights that the garden at Munstead Wood offers and record the range of plants we are privileged enough to now have in our care, and that were part of Gertrude Jekyll’s original vision for her very own garden in Surrey.

Early Summer at Munstead Wood

May is another very special month in the garden at Munstead Wood. Early summer has offered up the most exceptional colour, assisted by plenty of rain and intermittent sunshine. Some roses have bloomed early to compete with the huge and mighty resident rhododendrons cascading high above our heads and the jewel-like plant treasures offered up in the Three-Corner Garden.

Azalea Copse

In the middle of the Woodland Garden there is a softly weaving avenue of over forty deciduous Azaleas. The Azaleas crowd around you as you walk through them, sharing a glorious perfume which hovers in the air, matched by a hum of happy bees hopping amongst the flowerheads.

As one plant goes over, there is another waiting in the wings to have their moment of glory and reveal the intensity of their colour amongst a rich array of what Jekyll described as ‘orange, copper, flame and scarlet-crimson’ with whites and yellows in the shadier parts.

The last days of May see hardy Azaleas in beauty. Any of them may be planted in company, for all their colours harmonise.

A quote by Gertrude Jekyll
A wooded copse with brightly coloured shrubs in pinks and yellows
The Azalea Copse at Munstead Wood, Surrey. | © National Trust/Hugh Mothersole


Gertrude Jekyll gave great thought to the planning and lay-out of the rhododendrons in her garden, using them to knit the areas of formal lawn and woodland together. She took time to visit a wide group of what she termed the ‘best nurseries’ to observe each plant’s ‘colouring, habit and time of blooming’ before selecting which she would plant and where. Jekyll felt that lilacs, purples, and whites were better in the shade, whereas the reds, scarlets and crimson deserved a space in the sun to best display their powerful colours.

Many of her original plants survive today and have grown to great heights. On the eastern side of the house a Rhododendron ‘Lodus-White’ towers over fifteen metres high and has a cave like quality when you stand under its vast canopy. Meanwhile the Green Walk becomes a tunnel of billowing pink and lilac blooms, which cast dappled shadows on the lawn below as they dance in the breeze.

Woodland Garden

Nearby and in great contrast to the colour of the Azalea Copse you will find quiet patches of shade, the bark of the silver birch and the tall stately foxgloves (Digitalis ‘Munstead-White’) offer a moment of refreshing cool white, soft green and silver repose.

The delicate bell flowers of lily of the valley and unfurling fronds of ferns add structural interest by your feet. This is a calm space before the burst of giant rhododendrons blooms which surround the Green Walk, in riotous pinks, reds and purples.

Long white flowers set amongst tall silver barked trees
Digitalis 'Munstead-White' in the Woodland Garden at Munstead Wood, Surrey. | © National Trust/Josie Cook

Garden Doorway Planting

When writing Wood and Garden which was published in 1899 Gertrude Jekyll wrote proudly about how the Mexican orange flower (Choiysa ternata) was ‘conspicuously beautiful during May..smothered in its white bloom so closely resembling orange-blossom'.

This May it has delivered in just the same way, framing the arched door and accompanied by lyrical drifts of purple wisteria draped on the top of the wall and contrasting with the sharp lines of the yuccas either side.

Three-Corner Garden

There is a large iconic wall that keeps the splendour of the Spring and Three-Corner Gardens hidden from sight. Once its arched wooden door is opened, waves of colour, texture and a breath-taking spring green are revealed which are both tender and bold at the same time.

Amongst the waves of tall planting are: apricot and lavender coloured lupins; bearded soft red and purple iris; architectural spears of angelica, euphorbia in abundance, red valerian and plump pink peonies of many tones. White foxgloves quietly stand guard amongst the colour, whilst pockets of purple veronica and alpine Sedum peek out from the garden walls.

Munstead Wood Garden Colour Gallery

View the visual treat of Munstead Wood's current garden highlights here.

Grid of 12 images
Close up of a large white and yellow flower
Rhododendron 'Glory of Littleworth' at Munstead Wood, Surrey. | © National Trust/Katherine Mills
A large purple flower amongst many green leaves
Iris in the Three-Corner Garden at Munstead Wood, Surrey. | © National Trust/Josie Cook
Close up of rock plants with small purple flowers
Garden wall plants at Munstead Wood, Surrey | © National Trust/Josie Cook
A close-up of a large pink and orange flower bloom
Azalea in flower at Munstead Wood, Surrey. | © National Trust/Ian Mothersole
A large orange flower head
A bright orange azalea at Munstead Wood, Surrey. | © National Trust/Josie Cook
A close up of a deep pink rose growing under a window
Rosa 'Munstead Wood' under the workshop window at Munstead Wood, Surrey. | © National Trust/ Josie Cook
A close-up image of a small purple flower
Nigella 'Miss Jekyll' at Munstead Wood, Surrey. | © National Trust/Josie Cook
A close up of a purple flower
A Centaurea Montana at Munstead Wood, Surrey | © National Trust/Katherine Mills
A very large flowering shrub with white and pink flowers
Rhododendron 'Lodus white' adjacent to entrance at Munstead Wood, Surrey | © National Trust/Josie Cook
Close-up of large orange multi-headed flower
Apricot Azalea at Munstead Wood, Surrey | © National Trust/Josie Cook
A close-up of a large purple flower with a small yellow spider inside
An iris in bloom and a small yellow spider at Munstead Wood, Surrey. | © National Trust/ Katherine Mills
A house is seen at the end of a green lawn path with pink shrubs either side
The Green Walk with Rhododendrons in flower at Munstead Wood, Surrey. | © National Trust/Josie Cook
A  group of tall apricot, red and purple flowers in a garden
May colour in the Three-Corner Garden, Munstead Wood, Surrey. | © National Trust/Josie Cook