I was completely bowled over by Croome Park.I have always loved visiting beautiful houses and gardens in Great Britain so joined the National Trust.This organisation preserves places of historic interest and natural beauty,conserving and educating people to enjoy their national heritage.It is one of the largest land owners in Great Britain ensuring that future generations can enjoy the benefits of the trust.
It was my second visit ,first time was in October with my elderly parents and this time,in March with my husband and 5 year old son .In October it was a beautiful Autumn day really warm,there was a family day there and the place was decorated with pumpkins and had a harvest theme .The digging for victory garden was reaching the end of its season ,all the pumpkins ripe for harvesting.The second visit ,in march,was very different .It was dry and just coming in to Spring ,buds were breaking on the branches and the whole garden was coming to life after its Winter rest.The vaulable ,very old statues were covered with their custom made green jackets to keep the frost from damaging them.
With my parents we just had a ride to the house on an electric buggy because they couldn’t walk far.The house is not restored yet and they were campaigning for its future ,which I’m pleased to see on my second visit ,was successful!There are displays hinting at the future development of the house and a rather unusual art installation which hadn’t been that well received according to the comments in read in the visitor book .’Waste of money- was perhaps one of the kinder ones but I thought it gets one thinking & talking about it which is probably the intention.The Adams fireplace is there to see.
On my second visit with my husband and son we walked a complete circuit of the park and sat for a while in the Park seat (mainly to get our breath back from the last steep bit of the climb!)
Lancelot ‘Capability ‘Brown stared work at Croome Park in 1751 for George Coventry (6th Earl of Coventry).It was Browns first landscape garden and major architectural project -An important and seminal work (Robert Adams and George Wyatt also designed follies for the park and additions to the house.)Looking at this picture gives you a feel of the openness of the park.Brown moved the church ,knocking down a medieval one situated near the house, and building this one on the brow of the hill .
He developed a garden-less style of gardening quite a complete contrast to the fussy formal styles that were popular at the time.
The Earl of Coventry had probably the biggest collection of plants outside of Kew Gardens, in London, at the time -so was probably keen to embrace new gardening fashions . Brown swept away the formal gardens for a natural feel ,used undulating smooth grass ,clumps of trees ,specimen trees like cedar of lebanon and serpentine lakes and ha ha ditches to enhance the open feel but to contain. In fact Croome has an ‘artificial river’ a tribute to the River Severn complete with grotto dedicated to ‘Sabrina’ (goddess of the River Severn)running through it .It is 1 3/4 miles long and took many men 12 years to dig out .It culminates in a lake with 2 islands -one with a beautiful Island pavilion reached by an 18th century iron bridge.He designed over 170 gardens but not reaching Ireland because he hadn’t finished England yet !
Not everybody was quite so enthusiastic about his style.In fact Richard Owen Cambridge( a satirical poet ) said he hoped he died and got to heaven first ,before Brown had ‘improved’ it !
I like the feeling of space at Croome Park .The ‘use’ of the whole ridge of the Malvern hills(680 million years old !) as a perfect back drop to the whole picture, the reflections evident in the water from the trees and sky & the way the wildlife interact with the gardens natural style.