A visit to Trentham Gardens

I have visited Trentham Gardens many times.  When I am on a pottery factory seconds trip it is usually where I stop for lunch (often pie and mash) and a bit more retail therapy.  I do not often visit the gardens themselves largely due to time and that rarely used phrase 'we'll do the gardens next time'.  The other day when driving past I thought I would stop off and visit the gardens and not buy anything at all.  (I can hear you at the back humming the theme to Mission Impossible ....)

At its heart Trentham has an Italianate garden and we all know I love a good Italianate garden.  This is a good one, beautifully proportioned with its yew pillars creating height and structure.  The gardens include planting by Piet Oudolf and Tom Stuart Smith as part of the restoration project that began in 1996 when the estate was purchased by its current owners.  The estate has a history dating back before the 16th century when it had been a priory and then the first hall was built in 1599.  The gardens have been designed and worked on by Charles Bridgman and Capability Brown in the hall's heyday.  By the time we get to the industrial revolution, the Duke of Sutherland who owned the estate stopped living there due to the pollution.  The grounds were opened to the public in 1910 and it was doing quite well until WW2 when in line with most large estates it was used for military purposes.  The estate was sold in the 1980s and was impacted upon by mining subsidence and then it began to decline quickly. 

Fast forward to 1996 and the Estate is purchased by the current owners and is now a thriving retail park, a monkey forest and of course, there are the gardens themselves.  Because when I am usually there I am focussed more on pie and shopping than gardens (I know, this is very out of character for me); I have only visited the actual gardens a couple of times.  On this day I had a bit more time so I ignored the shops, ignored the call of pie and when straight into the gardens.
As I was on my way home from somewhere else I decided to walk off the car drive so far and wander around the lake.  I had never walked around the lake before so this felt like a good idea and it was.
To walk around the lake took about two miles, whilst it looked like rain was coming it was not due just yet so I enjoyed the rather lovely autumn day.
There was some fabulous colour to walk through.  There was such a wonderful glow from these liriodendron trees.  Oh to have an area big enough to have a liriodendron walk (adds to 'when I win the lottery' list).
As I walked I found this rather lovely stumpery. I love a good stumpery.
Look at this fabulous funghi - it is one of those 'isn't nature amazing' moments. 
I decided this one was the monarch of the glen.
Some areas have some perennial planting in them.  I now have that 'I must visit again in Spring' feeling.  These look like pulmonaria and brunnera to me and also some geraniums.  I will have to come back.

I have seen these wire sculptures at various gardens and garden shows, I always think they are wonderful.  This one looks perfectly placed on this plinth.
The views across the garden work so well.  The yew pillars are fantastic and the glimpse of the ruin of the hall makes a perfect backdrop.
The sky was getting darker and the hall was drawing me towards it.  I had to complete this visit before the rains arrived, or just get wet, I was not giving in.
I nodded at Medusa's head as I walked past, poor woman.
I paused to admire these lollypop, or are they mushroom trees?  I really  like this simple and effective shape.  I tried to think where I could include some in my garden and as yet I cannot work it out - but I will, you know I will
Look at this fantastic tree on the lawns in front of the hall.  The colour is like a flame rushing up through it.  It is a conifer, I am not sure which - answers on a postcard please?  
and then there was in front of the hall.  What a sad but still beautiful place.
Look at this wonderful wisteria running along the wall and I think inside as well.  This is another 'I need to come back and see this in flower' moment.
I kept walking along to the loggia.
Just imagine what this would have looked like when first completed.  I wonder if there are plans to restore the hall/this area or whether they will preserve as ruins.  Either way they tell the story of this place and that they are still here is good.
Happy with my visit I started to walk back to the car park and wandered past this, dare I say it, not the most beautiful of bridges.  Yet it is a bridge with a history.  Apparently, so the sign next to it told me, it has the footings of the world's second oldest iron bridge.  It cost £875 in 1794 and was designed by Thomas Farnolls Pritchard.  

I got back to my car before the rain set in.  I completed my mission without buying anything from the retail park and it was still a bit early for pie.  'next time' I whispered to the pie shop 'next time'.

Take care and be kind.

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  1. What a beautiful setting and views of nature and formal gardens, alike. Thanks for sharing. :)


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