I was fortunate to spend a very peaceful March day visiting the gardens at East Bergholt Place (The Place for Plants). It is my nearest showcase garden – together with its lovely plant nursery – so it is always a pleasure to visit.
I was hoping to get images of some later varieties of Snowdrop – and felt eager to discover what else was on show. The weather was fine, with a gentle sun – and the air was still. All perfect for some serious photography …
I wasn’t sure where to start and so decided to complete a quick circuit around the main paths to plan my Photoshoot. Surprisingly, my friend Lisa and I were the only people in the garden. We both went our individual ways, so it was therefore very easy for me to feel at one with my surroundings and the wildlife of the garden. There was a soothing soundtrack of bird song, interspersed with the occasional cries of local buzzards soaring on thermals and the cackling laughs of Green Woodpeckers. I was amazed to hear Tawny Owls calling to each other too – all the birds seemed to sense that Spring had arrived and that there was much to organise …
Grey squirrels scampered in the trees above my head, whilst the first plant that I decided to photograph – a marvellous Rhododendron arboreum in pink – was the feeding station for hundreds of softly-humming bees, gratefully collecting pollen from its voluptuous goblet-like blooms. It was the only rhododendron flowering in the garden, so it was easy to see why they had ‘made a bee-line’ towards it !!
The fact that I was too early for the magnolia and rhododendrons in general made my Photoshoot easier – as I could concentrate on a few star species. Daffodils, late-flowering snowdrops, snowflakes, hellebores and a few specimen shrubs caught my eye – with lots more spring interest only a bud-bursting breath away.
The snowdrops in the open were thick-leaved with large bulbous blooms. There were larger drifts of different varieties in the more wooded areas, nestling up to the trunks of trees. I know that garden owner Rupert Eley is a galanthophile, so no doubt he will be able to put a name to all of these ..?
Here and there were dotted tiny yellow ‘sunbeams’ …
There were several different types of daffodil – and the shafts of gentle sunlight encouraged me to see more in them than I have done in previous years. The weather seems to have been perfect for an amazing show of blooms this year – and these are just a few of my favourite images.
The following Narcissus bulbocodium were almost hidden away between shrubs near the top of the garden. They have the charming common name of ‘hoop petticoat daffodil’ and chive-like leaves. I’m sure that I have never noticed these before – as their delicate nodding heads and pale lemony-cream petals seemed so dainty and almost translucent in the soft sunlight.
Back on the wet meadowy-slopes of the fritillary area, I found Snowflakes dotted around holding sway whilst the fritillaries were preparing themselves for their starring role. These beautiful plants actually made better photographic subjects than the snowdrops, as they had a poise and character about them that made for some stunning shots.
The ground was extremely boggy and I could actually hear the water trickling and gurgling down the slope. No wonder the fritillaries love it there so much. I cannot wait for their return.
A few stunning shrubs caught my eye …
Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’
Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’
Sorbaria sorbfolia ‘Sem’
Virburnum x bodnantense ‘Charles Lamont’
…and even the different shades of green were bewitching.
There were also many beautiful hellebores – some of which I believe Rupert is trialling – with numbers instead of names. This year has seen my awakening for these gorgeous long-blooming plants and I found a stunning white and some lovely dusky pink/purple doubles.
My last stop was to admire a budding magnolia – Magnolia ‘Sundew’ – with its gorgeous magenta-pink petals preparing to emerge …
Time flew by as is normal when I’m photographing gardens and I spent an entire day thoroughly enjoying myself. I know that I will be returning within the next two weeks to marvel at the magnolias & rhododendrons. The garden feels so full of promise ..