Forde Abbey, Somerset
As I sit here writing this, the kitchen table is scattered with an assortment of tulip bulbs ready to plant this weekend and as always we’ve left it a little later than we intended but we’re optimistic the weather will hold. Encased within the bulb’s crisp papery shells holds the promise of next years first flourish of colour.
The colour outside, however, is starting to look a little flat fallen leaves blanket the ground and the flowers are fading. As the days grow shorter we long for the weekends when we can be outside pottering and preparing the garden. The dark weekday evenings keep us bundled up inside perusing endless seed catalogues and allowing us time to plan for the following spring.
We cast our minds back to earlier this year when we met Caroline, the marketing and events organiser at the beautiful Forde Abbey. Before this visit we had only been to Forde Abbey once in the depths of winter, a stark contrast to the spring garden that radiated with vitality. From the moment we entered through the walled kitchen garden vibrant tulips wove our path. Every border was brimming with tulips of every shape, size and hue, their forms and textured layering complementing the neighbouring plants in the vast perennial borders and the exuberant colours capturing a moment of pure delight in a rapidly changing season.
Since our visit many exciting plans have been set in motion with the help of new head gardener, Joshua Sparkes. Joshua’s vision incorporates sustainable gardening practices tackling the challenges presented by our changing climate. Reducing water usage by turning the formal lawns into naturalistic meadow schemes is one idea that has been implemented.
We can’t wait to visit again in spring and see the extraordinary magic of this season and its ability to spread joyfulness and promise.