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Tuesday March 02 , 2021

Blue Daisy Blog

Blue Daisy blog written by Nicki Jackson & Jules Clark - for news, views, garden design, gardening and plant observations and thoughts.

Dunham Massey visit

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dunhammassey425-1We arrived at Dunham Massey on a very hot and sunny day, the website and literature said that it was the most visited National Trust property in the North West so we thought we were in for a treat. There are three main areas to visit: the Georgian house, the gardens and the 300 acre deer park, the house was yet to open so we decided to go and visit the gardens first.

People dressed in authentic costume greeted us and were walking through the grounds in character; it really did make you feel as though you had stumbled upon a piece of England that simply hadn’t been touched by the 21st Century.

The gardens were beautiful in many ways from a historical point of view and also from a horticultural stand too. We were given a map of the gardens which made sure we didn’t get lost and miss anything out which I thought was a really good idea and did help too! As we entered we came upon the croquet lawn which was surrounded by jolly and colourful perennials as if welcoming us to the main house garden. Luckily for us there was a brass band playing under a gazebo keeping the heat of the sun off them, there was stall selling soft drinks and champagne and everyone simply sat on the large lawn and soaked up the atmosphere. The staff who were dressed in costume walked around the lawn area with their parasols bidding us a good day, children played and band continued to fill the air.  All terribly civilised and lovely too!


We walked on to see the vegetable beds which were a trial last year and proved so popular with visitors that they planted two this year. They showed us how much can be grown in a specific area, what companion plants they used and that they also included some ornamental plants to keep it looking interesting and colourful as well as productive too!

We walked through a shady area where plants were planted en masse together to give an effect, for example, of either texture or colour. The canal border was planted with shade and damp tolerant plants again en masse and the effect was simply stunning. The history of the older rose garden which is now called a moss garden was fascinating, many years ago this area was planted with many roses and enclosed with a beech hedge for all to enjoy. Then during the world wars when the gardeners were called up to fight for their country there was no one left to tend to the roses or the hedges. The effect was phenomenal the beech hedges rose from their allotted space and became extremely tall and dominating trees blocking out all light and all the roses simply died. All that is left is moss and tall beech trees and it has been left to show us how nature can simply take over. All is not lost for rose lovers, a new garden has recently been constructed and has 1500 roses is just about to open, unfortunately we could only see over a gate but it looks like it will be stunning with its metal arches and lavender too!


dunhammassey190-3dunhammassey190-4Afterwards we had lunch and then went for a walk around the deer park some of it was being protected from the deer by gates and high fences which we could walk through but it allowed some of the new saplings get established before being nibbled!! There were areas that were out of bounds to us but allowed the deer to have a sense of freedom within the vast parkland. It was a really lovely walk although maybe not the best thing to be doing in the heat of the sun even though there were plenty of places to sit and relax!

By the time we had got back to the main house area it was too late for us to look around the house or even the 17th century mill as we had to get on the motorway back to Coventry before traffic started to build. It is definitely somewhere we would visit again and next time the house would be first on the agenda.

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Nicki Jackson is Blue Daisy's garden designer & owner. A former HR consultant Nicki still finds the time to run Blue Daisy, design gardens and planting plans, write a blog, keep our gardening clients happy and offer IIP advice and outplacement support through Blue Daisy Consultancy.

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