Weekly Photo Challenge – Reward – Visiting the Garden of Ninfa

Its easy to fall in love with this wonderful romantic garden but the reward of finally visiting and experiencing breath taking joy is something I will never forget.

Roses in the Garden of Ninfa

Roses in the Garden of Ninfa

For this weeks challenge, I thought of the long walks, cycle rides, hills and the odd mountain we had climbed to stretch our bodies and be rewarded by spectacular views but chose visiting the Garden of Ninfa in Italy and finally seeing the crumbling walls covered in Roses as my response to this challenge.

My piece on the Gardens of Ninfa was written shortly after I began blogging and since that time have met many people I would not have met before, who have given me great advice, been extremely kind and who have opened my eyes with some wonderful blogs on so many beautiful plants and places across the world.

Please visit the photo challenge page to see how other folk have responded to the Reward challenge.

Alnwick Garden Northumberland – An Inclusive Garden

We visited Alnwick Gardens, the Duchess of Northumberland’s visionary garden in late June, a floral dip time for many. We were in Northumberland primarily for a walking holiday, staying in Alnmouth on the coast. The beach is incredibly beautiful, just a few miles from the town and home of Alnwick garden and castle.

Alnmouth Beach

Saturday morning and Alnmouth Beach, blue skies and soft sand

On to contemporary Alnwick on Sunday, where dogs are not allowed, a whistle stop tour, whilst Archie was cared for by my daughter and treated to another Northumberland walk – he did not complain. I had read a little before we visited and had watched a documentary some years ago on the building of the Grand Cascade, so felt excited to visit.


Grand Cascade

Jacques and his son Peter Wirtz, garden designers from Belgium are creating the garden, Flanked by clipped Hornbeam tunnels, the Grand Cascade is the central show stopper. Every half hour fountains erupt and dance down the cascade culminating in a last hurrah in the pool at the bottom, all of this lasting 10 minutes then all is calm again. People picnic on the lawn in front, or eat in the vast pavilion which looks across and up the cascade, children play on enormous tractors, it looked fun. We drank coffee sitting in the pavilion watching and wishing our children were small again.


Perennial border adjacent to the Pavilion

View down the cascade towards the pavilion

View down the Grand Cascade towards the pavilion

Across the lawns and onto the Poison Garden tour, behind locked gates and a fundraiser by donation to the Alnwick Garden Trust drug awareness work, school parties are also invited and from there the aim is discussion on the dangers of drugs.

The Poison Garden

The Poison Garden

Bees were happy to forage in the Poison garden

Inside the Poison Garden, Hemlock and Foxgloves, amongst many others, although Bees were happy to forage.

A walk to the top of the Grand Cascade revealed the large formal garden. Pleached crab apples and iron uprights provided the balance to borders of Delphiniums and Roses. Along the surrounding walls more borders of perennials, no dip time here and more roses looking fabulous.

Formal gardens

Formal gardens

We moved onto the Rose Garden abundant with well yes Roses. Everywhere Roses of all shapes sizes and colours. Don’t get me wrong I love Roses, but was a tad overwhelmed and really wanted all of the other people to go away so I could enjoy them on my own.

Rose Garden

Rose Garden

We walked onto the Cherry Orchard, where a gentle path winds up through the Cherry trees. Too late in the year to enjoy the blossom of 350 Great White Cherrys, underplanted with 50,000 Purple Sensation Alliums and thousands of ‘Pink Mistress’ Tulips. Late April and May is the time to go.

350 Great White Cherrys in the Cherry Orchard. Timing is everything!

Winding path through 350 Great White Cherrys in the Cherry Orchard. Timing is everything!

50,000 Alium 'Purple Sensation'

Remnants of the  50,000 Allium ‘Purple Sensation’

Alnwick have appointed a man from Disney into the marketing team, his influence was clear, thats not a criticism, I get it, running these large gardens cost a great deal of money and positively encouraging and including children is a good move. A glance at their website reveals his influence, water pistol days throughout the summer holidays for one. But also a balance, lots of music and art. I have started to volunteer with a horticultural therapy project and was really interested to learn Alnwick have several similar projects running in the garden. Alnwick castle, next door and a separate entrance fee to the gardens is also known as the Hogwarts castle as it was used as a location for a couple of the Harry Potter films. There is a wonderful albeit disneyfied tree house restaurant with children firmly in mind. Alnwick has enjoyed some controversy, mainly over its build cost and not everyone likes it but its a garden for all ages and if you love Roses, its certainly worth a visit.


Rosa ‘Souvenir d’Orchidee’

From the many rose photographs I could not choose a favourite, so decided to add just one. The Garden is open all year round and I can recommend the coffee!