In fact, the park (not the house of course) opened yesterday but I was down in Belsize Park. But what excitement. I felt like a child finally being allowed to enter to a secret garden. And how lovely to see those sweeping lawns from the terrace rather than peering through railings and trees.
But, the big question… Would any of the azaleas be left?
Sadly, not really. The one massive clump that stands as the western and shady end of the azalea lawn has a little colour left…
but the huge sweep that runs along the hillside at the back were very comprehensively over.
Still, some consolations. The foxglove bank at the far end of the lawn, if slightly past its peak, is still pretty spectacular…
and likewise the magnificent handkerchief tree, so called because its rather insignificant little flowers are held within large square white bracts which look exactly like white handerchiefs.
The Kenwood tree is a magnificent specimen but has been almost smothered by the beech avenue which runs along the south side of the azalea lawn. Lovely trees but I think a few could happily be sacrificed to allow the handkerchief tree space to spread. However, tree culling is a sensitive subject around this part of the world – of which more another day….
Meanwhile, just tucked around the back, in the shade and therefore later to flower, I did find one extraordinary white azalea in its full pomp, its pinky tan markings looking like miniature peacocks displaying in the centre of each blossom.
Tomorrow, the woods, the pond and the meadows….
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