A visit to Staffordshire’s Trentham Gardens is always a ‘golden’ experience between the months of October and November – thanks to the autumnal colours throughout its parklands, gardens and meadows.
Boasting a “rediscovered” Capability Brown parkland, a mile-long lake and multi-award winning gardens, Trentham has – for the past decade – been one of the best places in the whole of The Midlands for visitors to head to at this time of the year.
But the introduction of the largest sequence of colourful ‘pictorial meadows’ in any historic landscape in the country over the past 12 months has just improved its overall autumnal appeal.
Of all the places in Britain to visit for a spot of leaf-peeping, few can now compete with the dramatic “floor to ceiling” range of autumnal colours on offer at Trentham Gardens. The woodland trees, reflected in the lake, are just one element of the seasonal show that is complemented every year by The Rivers of Grass – a breathtaking prairie garden landscape of grasses and vast herbaceous perennials designed by Dutch gardening guru, and Chelsea gold-medal winner, Piet Oudolf.
But the iconic perennial plantings of Oudolf and fellow Chelsea gold medalist Tom Stuart-Smith – along with Trentham’s own team – has recently been expanded by the introduction of some eye-catching perennial and annual meadows, designed and planted by a third Chelsea gold medalist Nigel Dunnett who needs little introduction to the nation’s horticultural fraternity. Best known, perhaps, for his role in the plantings at London’s Queen Elizabeth Park, Dunnett is now heavily involved in implementing a new range of plantings, including a new woodland garden and the new perennial entrance garden – as well as the record breaking planting of his trademark ‘pictorial meadows’ – at Trentham, and will be retained to deliver further developments throughout the gardens and parklands in 2017.
Having provided a stunning swathe of colour since the summer, these lakeside areas will continue to offer rich displays while the flowers slowly fade and the foliage tints.
Elsewhere, the mellow tinted grasses will offer a staggering impact, alongside the vast perennial displays throughout the garden. And a collection of Japanese Cherries, recently introduced to the western gardens, is now starting to deliver yet more colour to the gardens.
Other trees, chosen with autumn in mind, have been added to enhance the lakeside woodland walk, including 150-plus North American trees.
Some of the new tree planting will take time to light-up the skies at Trentham, but amongst the current natural appeal of Trentham at this time of year are the colours of the magnificent mature Oaks and other trees reflected in the lake – with the wonderful backdrop of Kings Wood Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), which Capability Brown included in his landscape.
Admission prices to the gardens up to October 30th start from £9.22 online for an adult, (£7.87 concessions; £7.87 children). Family tickets (£35.50 on the gate, and £31.95 online) are also available. Reduced admission prices will apply from October 31st.
For further information about The Trentham Estate, visit www.trentham.co.uk.