Tag Archives: Cornus kousa ‘China Girl’

Alnwick Gardens, a bucket list tick


I’ve wanted to visit the Alnwick Garden in Northumberland ever since I read about it in the Garden magazine years ago.

In 1997 the garden was completely redesigned by Belgian garden designers Jacques and Peter Wirtz, with the Duchess of Northumberland (who lives in adjoining Alnwick Castle), the driving force behind its creation.  The garden opened to the public in 2001 with a reported development cost of £42 million.

The Grand Cascade, above and below, is the iconic garden feature and is on a truly astonishing scale. IMG_0932IMG_0933



I really loved it.  It takes some vision to come up with a design like this.

Away from structure and green, but adjacent to these smaller pools, was a large circular bed with Narcissi still flowering.  IMG_0934

Through these beautiful gates IMG_0938

and into the ornamental gardenIMG_0940

these tulips confirmed that I’d travelled back in time!IMG_0947

Sadly, many plants already flowering down south were biding their time here.  This arch, smothered with Rosa ‘Fontaine des Loups,’ will be amazing in a couple of weeks, IMG_0941

likewise these PeoniesIMG_0945

and these Delphiniiums.IMG_0951

Luckily there were some blooms to admire including these lovely shaggy poppies,IMG_0965

Anemone ‘Wild Swan’IMG_0966

Meconopsis (ring any bells from my previous post?)IMG_0954

stunning Cornus kousa ‘China Girl’IMG_0957

and Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariessi’.IMG_0955

In 2003 there were further developments to the garden, including a Poison Garden, where we had a fascinating talk about the numerous garden plants which are poisonous.


The garden was created as an educational resource after the Duchess met a mother who had lost her son to heroin addiction.  Hopefully the inclusion of  some rather sad looking Marijuana plants did the job…


As well as the Poison Garden, the 2003 development included the creation of an amazing treehouse, constructed amongst the Lime trees.IMG_0981

As well as a location for coffee and cake (very nice, thank you) there is also a restaurant with a central open fire, which, bearing in mind the grim weather, had been lit, making the whole ‘woody’ interior look very inviting in an Alpine chalet way.IMG_0979b


The whole thing was completely magical, but to finish, something rather less rustic – charming fresh flowers in the main garden loos.  Made me feel like a Duchess 😉IMG_0969