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Woodland Gardens - Weekly Update from Lord Lansdowne

A separate attraction on the Bowood Estate, only open for 6 weeks during the flowering season. Covering over 30 acres, this garden is an oasis of bluebells, azaleas, magnolias, and rhododendrons. Considered to be one of the most exciting gardens of its type in the country with over 30 hardy hybrids, which were thought to be extinct.

Each week during the flowering season, Lord Lansdowne will share his thoughts and updates on these beautiful gardens.

6th May

Little has changed since my last comments after opening the Woodland Gardens on 27th April.  Here we are ten days later, and still suffering from that cruel north wind.  Temperatures are well below average and the same applies to rainfall.  Incidentally, the rainfall pattern over the last few months is interesting.  Jan was wet with over 92mm.  February was average with 60.7mm, and March 60.5mm, much the same.  However, we had no rain in April until the last three days when we had just 23mm (in old money less than an inch).  So, not only did we have this biting north wind, but it was also incredibly dry.  The good old days of warm April showers seems to be something of the past.

We have left the walk of the week as it was when we originally opened.  It is by far the most interesting areas to see.  The Augustinii, of which there are groups down Pauline’s Ride, Simon’s Ride and elsewhere, are at their zenith.  Look at the variants of colours.  Deep, deep blue, fading into light mauve.  We have been propagating the deep blue and now have established an outstanding line known as Bowood Best.


All the Loderi are coming into full flower.  Stunning plants of which there are 43 varieties, and we have many of them.   As you walk through the entrance gate you are faced with three beautiful Loderi ‘Game Chick’.  It never fails.

If you can navigate successfully from the leaflet provided, you will also see another magnificent example of Loderi, King George (one of the best scented).  It is on Lady Lansdowne’s Ride, almost a few yards south of where Lord Lansdowne’s Ride crosses.


The Magnolias to look out for are the late flowering yellow varieties; Butterfly, Yellow Bird, and Yellow Lantern to name just a few.  You will find a little group of these again off Lord Lansdowne’s Ride, where it joins Lord Shelburne’s Walk.  These plants were given to us by Bowood staff on our 250th Anniversary.

Finally, bluebells.  They are approaching  their zenith and will remain that way for another two weeks.  Not to be missed.  They are the unique British bluebells, which hasn’t been contaminated by the Spanish variety.  Long may it last.  The Spanish variety is virulent and if given a chance will take over.

Do hope you have a lovely visit.

Charlie Lansdowne.