The delightful gardens at Dalemain -

As already mentioned I had left day two of my Northern Wanderings to be more of an open choice.  I had some shortlisted candidates but I was happy to go where the breeze and the Vauxhall Corsa I had hired for the journey (don't ask) would take me.  After some consideration on the Tuesday evening I decided that Wednesday would be Dalemain.  It was not that far away, I had heard of it but had never been before and I knew they have a thing for marmalade and a good dragon.  I will drive a distance to see a good dragon.

The day was grey and rain was threatened from mid afternoon, so I decided to crack on and get on with the day sooner rather than later.  You can take a tour around the house as well as the gardens, but I very rarely tour houses these days, my priority is to see the gardens so I bought a ticket to do that.  
There has been a settlement at Dalemain since Saxon times and the oldest parts of the house date from the 12th century.  The house has been in the ownership of the Hassell family since the 17th century.  

You take a turn around the front of the house and then start walking along the side.  You are immediately pulled along to explore this terrace.
It is quite a high terrace, less of a ha-ha more of a 'flipping 'eck!'.  I could get a closer to the edge than I could to the terrace at Lowther Castle as I could rest my hand on the ornamental plant plinth.  I don't think it is a designated safety plinth, yet it was for me.
Roses perch and tumble over the edge, here is my current 'must get one of these' roses - American Pillar.  A rose, I am now convinced, is stalking me until I buy one.
and there is a very well planted long border running alongside the house itself.
There is this very wonderful parterre garden, that is a peaceful and reflective place to spend a while.
Then I carried on into the terraced upper garden, that has this rose walk.  Roses are clearly an important part of the gardens at Dalemain, apparently they have over 200 roses.  When I was setting out for Cumbria I read somewhere that roses do not do well in this area......... I found no evidence to support this, quite the contrary!
This is a fabulouse garden to explore,  there are nooks,
Pointy tree areas (I do love a good pointy tree....)
I found a door that led into Narnia...
Well, it looks like Narnia to me.... and then you go back into the main garden ....
There are paths to draw you along, 
quiet spaces,
and hosta moments - I can confirm that hostas do very well in Cumbria, they seemed to be living it large!

but could I find that dragon.....

could I bu..ery

So I went for a cup of tea and some lunch in the cafe.  I studied the shelves of marmalade and decided I would purchase some for a marmalade-loving friend before I left.  

I regrouped, studied the very good map of the garden, put my best foot forward and headed into the low garden:  I would find that dragon.
I went down the steps and under the enormous Kiftsgate rose that was climbing up a tree.  I do love this rose, I have one that romps around my side boundary.  It is huge and unruly but has scent to die for and looks stunning.

Now bearing in mind I was already really loving the gardens here at Dalemain, the lower garden took me to a whole new level of love.  It has such a feeling of peace and green and calm.  
I nodded (quietly) hello to the sleeping mud giant.
I followed paths hither and thither, finding nooks for evening G&Ts (though you would have to train the cats to fetch them from the house for you...)
There is a delightful summer house,
and a delightful pet cemetary.  I always like a pet cemetary, it shows such love for their pets.
up paths, down paths, but could I find this flipping dragon...


so I had only walked straight past it as I had entered the garden.  The thing is I had no idea how big the dragon was.  I was thinking something smaller, curled around the base of a tree.  
This is not Idris the dragon from Ivor the Engine who can sleep in the boiler of the engine, this is huge!  A Smaug of a dragon!  It is not small, it is not far away.  When I had finished laughing at myself (which took quite a while), I made my way back to the shop.
Did I mention they have a thing about marmalade at Dalemain?  When I say a thing, they host an annual marmalade festival and sell all sorts of different varieties.  I am pretty sure if you try and leave without buying any the marmalade police gently but firmly turn you back so you can remedy your mistake.  I headed back to the shop to buy some marmalade (George's Marmalade, apparently the favourite of the son of the house) and headed for my car.  It had been an excellent visit and so far the rain had held off.  I set off for my next visit of the day.... which turned out to be two visits.......

Northern Wanderings 1 - Rufford Old Hall

Northern Wanderings 2 - Lowther Castle and Gardens

Northern Wanderings 3 - Larch Cottage Nursery

Northern Wanderings 5 - Long Meg and her daughters

Northern Wanderings 6 - Acorn Bank

Take care and be kind

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