Back in January as part of our Dorset discovery week we had a walk around Kingston Lacy in Wimborne Minster to walk off a rather tasty lunch at Number9. The lunch was much needed as we'd spent a windy morning at the top of Corfe Castle, but more on that another day. We arrived at Kingston Lacy not expecting to have very much time there, but hopefully time enough to discover some snowdrops. The NT volunteer at reception said we had more time than we thought and helpfully pointed us in the direction of where we'd most likely find some snowdrops.
The house itself is pretty impressive and we'll be back another time I'm sure to see inside it. It was inspired by the palaces of Italy and was bought by Sir John Bankes in 1636, along with Corfe Castle - so quite a coincidence that we'd visited there earlier in the day. But anyway, it's a pretty grand looking house and the day we were there the skies were pretty stunning too.
Immediately outside the house there's a more formal garden as you'd expect, and in the centre of this Parterre I assume there's a statue that's been covered up for the winter rather than a small shed. But thinking it might be a small shed did make me smile...
And then I saw the first of the hedges, and some snowdrops peeking out from underneath it. I love the cloud-like structure of this hedge and it was pretty big. I knew then, I'd like it here. Walking through the Victorian Fernery we spotted plenty of flowering snowdrops and cyclamen leaves, as well as the aconites which were just starting to flower.
There were also these bench seats around the trees as we walked through the blue and white border. Our blue and white was the blue of the skies and the white of the benches. The second bench gave me another smile, as the tree has a little bit of catching up to do!
As we turned to look where we'd come from, it was a great view. From the house you'd also be able to easily spot the ancient 6.5m obelisk, which took many years to be shipped here from Egypt. It had a bit of a tortuous journey and fell into the Nile while being loaded onto a boat, was the object of a gun battle with rival Egyptologists but it arrived to great excitement and needed 19 horses to pull it upright, and its foundation stone was laid in 1827.
This gate - the first of my wrought iron discoveries - led into the Lime Avenue, what a glorious gate and view beyond it.
There was work taking place in the Lime Avenue to remove the bushy growth around the trunks of the trees. Some had already been cut back and those trees had a more normal look to them, but they looked decidedly less snug!
And I couldn't walk past the log pile and leave that un-photographed could I?
We reached these Dogwoods and stopped to admire their colour - I hadn't realised until last week that the sun helped the branches redden, and those with less sun would often remain greener, but it does explain my Jewel-like Dogwoods.
We were heading towards the Kitchen Garden, which is about as far away from the house as you can get and over a road. But the plus side was another set of wrought iron gates which have clearly seen some use and are looking lovely for it.
Inside the kitchen garden there was little growing - it was January, we spotted leeks and kale - but there was lots of prep work taking place. We didn't explore too much in here as the time was going on and there was a very large notice warning us the time the gates into the estate would be locked, promptly. And not wanting to be locked out of the main grounds we hurried back across the road, but not without admiring this second hedge. It's another beauty isn't it?
Back safely in the main estate we continued our walk intending to walk up to the Japanese inspired garden and along Lady's Walk. We managed some of that but some path repairs diverted us off our planned route and somehow we found ourselves on the Woodland Walk skirting the edge of the estate. That meant a longer walk than we planned, but it meant we saw more than we intended to. The Japanese gardens looked great - we had a brief peek but sadly none of my pictures did it justice so that's another reason to return.
Our jaunt along the Woodland Walk wasn't as leisurely as it could have been, but that's partly because of the time of day and not wanting to be forgotten when everyone locked up for the evening so we did it at a brisk pace. We found time though to stop and admire the willow sculptures affectionately named William, Willow and Wisp.
And with that it was back to the car and we just had time to stuff our muddy boots into the car and get "car comfortable" before it started to snow. The wet snow was met with dismay from the local at the next car as it's rare to get snow in Dorset, and he was sure it wouldn't settle. We never found out if he was right though, as our journey was the one to bring us home to South London.