Alnwick Garden ~ April 2018~ Part 5 ~ bits and bobs

The tree house at Alnwick Gardens is one of the biggest I know of (not that I know of many, except that mad one in Tenessee) and is made from  sustainably sourced Canadian cedar, Scandinavian redwood and English and Scots pine. It has a well-reviewed restaurant doing local fare, and has wobbly rope bridges to cross. There’s also a lunch place called The Potting Shed in the top part of the tree house.

Tree House, or Village really.





view from one of the wobbly walkways.


There’s also a lake with a pair of swans, the Lady Swan was nesting



The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful pea-green boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five-pound note. 


The Alnwick Garden website is if anyone is looking to go there.

All photo’s can be clicked so you can go large and see more 🙂



Alnwick Garden ~ April 2018 ~ people

Part 1 HERE. Part 2 HERE. Part 3 HERE

Alnwick Gardens is a popular place for families to visit, as long as it isn’t raining too hard, there’s always a lot of cars in the car park. It’s such a big place though so you never feel crowded. It’s a good place to people watch if you are so inclined

Baby Love




Happy face


Halcyon days



Picnic people


Unco-ordinated Vlogger (I mean! Pink AND red?? Social death 🙄 )


that’s better 🙂


Girl on a mission


devil-children chasing ducks.


the kiddy-magnet pool



Sophie people-shooting.

We’ll finish up this series next time with the giant tree house and some extraneous extras, so stay tooned my lovlies,

treat yourself to the embiggenable versions of the pictures by clicking on them if you like 🙂


Alnwick Gardens ~ part 3 ~ flowers

Part 1 HERE.    Part 2 HERE

Of course, a garden isn’t really a garden without flowers.  At the top of the central water cascade is where they’re all at, in a walled-off courtyard.  Plenty of tulips in bloom in April of course, all gloriously coloured, such happy flowers to see after a long grey winter.


a lovely magnolia was in bloom too,


always glad to get the macro lens out.

Stay tooned folks, more to come. 🙂



Alnwick Gardens ~part 2 ~ the water features.

Part 1 HERE

WARNING- long post alert, short attention spanners cease here. 🙂

I neglected to tell the History of Alnwick Gardens in part 1, so I’ll remedy that here.

The History Bit

Adjacent to Alnwick Castle, the gardens have a long history under the Dukes of Northumberland but fell into disrepair until revived at the turn of the 21st century.

The first garden was made by the 1st Duke of Northumberland in 1750 and he employed Capability Brown, a great English architect and known in the 18th century as Englands greatest gardener. He designed over 170 parks/gardens, many of which are still up and running so the title is warranted I think.

The 3rd Duke was a plant collector, and brought loads of plants and seeds back from all around the world, leading to a century of development in the gardens. In the middle of the 19th century, the 4th Duke created an Italianate garden featuring a large conservatory, and at the end of the century, the gardens were at their grandest, with yew topiary, avenues of limes and acres of flowers.

Then WW2 happened, and the gardens were given over to planting and growing food, this was called the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign, so with that and the subsequent austerity of the 20th century, the Garden fell into disrepair, and it was closed in 1950.

The restoration of the gardens was instigated and carried out by the Duchess of Northumberland, and really I can’t separate her history from the gardens.

Isobel Jane Miller met Lord Ralph Percy at a birthday party when they were 16 & 17 respectively, and both then went on to Oxford University, and then got married, inspite of their parents telling them they were too young. They’re still together and have 4 children. The couple lived in a farmhouse in Northumberland until 1995, when Ralph’s brother Henry, 11th Duke of Northumberland, died from heart failure after an overdose of amphetamines. Bit of a lad he was. Consequently Ralph became the 12th Duke, and Jane became the 1st Duchess of Northumberland not to come from titled aristocracy.  Apparently she wasn’t happy in the ducal role until her hubby asked her to renovate the gardens. She started the work on the garden in 2000, and turned it into one of North East England’s biggest visitor attractions, as well as one of the country’s most controversial ones. A practising martial arts enthusiast, she introduced cage boxing to The Alnwick Gardens and a range of cocktails named after her. The Duchess, who claims to defy tradition, and who can disagree? has received praise and scorn for The Alnwick Gardens, but has dismissed criticism as “the snobbery element of gardening”. The locals welcomed the restoration and the influx of tourists, ker~ching! while English Heritage accused the Duchess of destroying one of the greatest gardens in England. Not that they offered to restore it, or contribute. In 2004, she was hospitalised after collapsing under pressure, and the criticism made her consider resigning the trusteeship and giving up on the project. But she rallied herself round and in 2012,  announced her plan to finish reconstruction of The Alnwick Garden by May 2015, which she accomplished, and then stepped down from managing it to concentrate on her work with over 160 charities. The gardens now have a management company and a board of trustees.  I don’t mind the aristocracy (too much) when they’re giving back, and not just leeching around.

Anyway on to the water features, the main one is the central arcade, a fountain display goes off every half hour

central arcade




down the plug-hole

A new garden added to The Alnwick Garden. The serpent garden, designed by Peter Wirtz, includes 8 water features by William Pye which show a different aspect of the behaviour of water. They demonstrate the way water splashes, trickles, flows, clings, forms waves and reflects. You can guess which is which.

serpent garden, didn’t see any snakes.


unknown small person, me and Sophie headless.



couldn’t resist


“Stay alive, I will find you!” (jumps) which movie? answers on a postcard 😀


me pal


no idea why this one looks better in black and white and the others don’t.



and finally,

On the edge

Well done if you stayed to the end, and thanks,

pictures as always are embiggenable with a click. 😀

Alnwick Gardens ~ April 2018 ~ Part 1 ~ Tai Haku Blossom

Cherry blossom, don’t you just love how it bursts forth at the end of winter, piercing the grey skies in defiance with their lush pink or white bunches of blossom. I have a  lovely pink one in my front garden, but Sophie doesn’t, so when Spring comes, we go off on a blossom hunt.  This year Sophie found out that Alnwick gardens have an orchard of over 300 Tai Haku cherry blossom trees, the biggest in the world apparently.

The story of the Tai Haku is lovely. Back in the day, a chap called Captain Collingwood Ingram, was obsessed with cherry blossom trees, and learned so much about them that in 1926 he was invited to give a talk to members of the Japanese Cherry Society, where he was shown a painting of a superb cherry with huge white flowers, which, he was told, was sadly extinct.  But Ingram wasn’t an expert for nothing, he recognised the tree in the painting as being the same as a tree he had seen in a Sussex garden.  As the tree was on it’s last legs, he hot footed it over there, took several cuttings from it, and today all Tai Haku trees in the world are descended from those cuttings. He re-introduced it to Japan in 1932.

The Duchess of Northumberland (who owns and developed the gardens as well as Alnwick Castle – Hogwarts to my American pals 🙂 )has added 50 double seated swing seats to the orchard, and it’s just fabulous. When we got there a carpet of daffodils covered the grass under the trees. SO many photographs, hard to choose, but here are some of my favourites of the day








Of course there’s much more to Alnwick gardens, the orchard is just a small bit of it, so stay tooned for the rest of our day there.

All pictures can be clicked on to get the embiggened and embettered experience 🤪