The walled garden was the last part of Houghton Hall that we got to explore and in all honesty we left it a bit late. But I was determined I was going to see it all, or at least as much as I could in the twenty minutes that we had. So it was a bit of a whistlestop tour, but as nice as it was I wasn't so keen on being locked in overnight.
So in the twenty minutes before the handbell rang, we saw quite a bit. And actually there was quite a bit to see, I've counted at least ten different gardens in here. That means this post is quite long, but as it's a whistlestop tour it's also quite quick!
Let's get on.
To start with we headed towards the centre of the garden and the Roundel.
But before we got there I was diverted into the Formal Rose garden with its wavy hedges. Well you know me and hedges! They were good, but not quite as good as these at the Thames Barrier Park.
After a quick hedge-fix, we ducked out of the rose garden into more hedges. Joy!
Looking to our right we soon spied the Conservatory and headed down the Hot Herbaceous borders towards it.
Even though it was a warm day, it was lovely and warm in here and I was tempted to stay awhile. But I didn't. Instead I admired the plants; those that the grilled floor was accommodating and those that just decided to grow in a corner.
It seems that it all got too much for this hydrangea, and it did make me smile.
Back outside we headed to our right and past the diamond beds - more hedges for me to admire, and some berry red flowers.
We passed the peony border where the peonies were already in bud and I'm sure will look great next year and onto the wisteria covered pergola. That too, I'm sure will be quite a sight.
Next up was the Croquet Lawn and it would have been nice to spend some time here and maybe even play some croquet. But as you'd imagine my eyes were drawn to the hedges and those "sentry boxes" with sculptures in.
But there was still so much more to see. Keep up there at the back!
Next up was the Mediterranean garden, and more hedges. Curly ones at that. Don't they look good?
From here we dipped into the cherry walk and then straight into another garden with a fountain. Nothing unusual about that you might think. Until you realise that at the top of the fountain is a flame. No really there is.
Of our twenty minutes we probably spent the most time here. Amazed and bemused. There wasn't much more in this garden, but with that as a centrepiece I guess you don't need that much more.
Next up we walked through the Apple Arches and into the Fruit garden where I saw the largest and prettiest Fruit cage I've ever seen.
From the lichen on the fruit cage we headed into the Herb garden and onto the Old Orchard.
With time almost out we found ourselves at the Rustic Temple. We've seen stumpery's but not before have we seen an antlery. Well until now.
The bell - for chucking out time - was starting to ring and there was just time to snap a picture of this hydrangea and it's easy to see why they're often called lace caps isn't it?
And before we left I managed to duck into the Italian Garden for a quick peek and a final fix of pleaching.
And we made it out before the gates were locked for the night. This walled garden is a fabulous place and the next time we visit Houghton Hall, because we're definitely going again, it's going to be the first place we visit and we'll have a much more leisurely stroll around!