Killerton: Colourful borders & a love of Sea Holly

Over the summer we visited Killerton, a National Trust property near Exeter in Devon.  Its a huge estate - one of the largest that the National Trust has acquired - and given away because of political beliefs by Sir Richard Acland.  The NT website describes Killerton House as a "model of elegance" and inside it was beautiful and the sort of home you could feel quite at home in.  But from the outside to me, it looked odd and quite boxy and very peach.  However I soon forgot that as the views over the countryside were stunning and something you'd never tire of seeing. 

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Oh dear, it looks like rain

Oh dear, it looks like rain

I've a serious case of bike envy...

I've a serious case of bike envy...

We nipped around the side of the house and entered the garden through the side gate, leaving the tour of the house for when it rained (and it did - those cows know their stuff). The colour on show in the borders was amazing and we hadn't appreciated how much garden and beyond there was to explore until it was right in front of us.

So, let's start with the borders. I only know some of these plants, but there was one of those laminated "border plans" to help us however, after much turning it at 45° and a fair bit of head scratching we returned it to the box and pointed at the stuff we knew, and the ones we didn't!

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Reds, oranges, pinks and purples looking beautiful together

Reds, oranges, pinks and purples looking beautiful together

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Somehow when nature puts these garish colours together it just works. But equally, the muted purples of the Sea Holly is just as beautiful. Put them together and the effect was just stunning. 

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I know this one,  Liatris Spicata

I know this one,  Liatris Spicata

Ah yes, time for more Sea Holly.  Some of it was really quite tall, although I was probably crouching on the floor to get this shot, which looks quite dramatic and sinister. 

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And as usual I can't resist a Red Hot Poker, even if it's yellow!  And red crocosmias too, this photo is messing with my head as in my garden they're both orangey... well they would be if my Red Hot Poker ever decided to flower!  I did branch out this summer though and sent for some yellow and red crocosmias to pep up the area I dug out a load of self-seeded-bird-gifted-Holly. They arrived too late (and too poorly after a week in the Sorting Office) to do much of anything this year, so hopefully next year I'll have a Killerton-inspired section in my garden. 

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Usual service restored, an orange crocosmia. 

Usual service restored, an orange crocosmia. 

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And with that our route had led us to the cafe - funny how that always seems to happen - so we stopped for lunch before heading out into the grounds to see some of Killerton's more unusual additions, explore the winding paths and see ancient trees, but I'll save that for another time as I've already shared way more photos than I intended too. I think I got carried away with all that colour!

But if you want another peek at that view, remember we've been at Killerton once before with S is for... Sundial - enjoy!