On Sunday afternoon, we took a little break from the history talks and wandered the Wimpole Estate.
You can’t help but admire the soaring architecture, the elegant lines, the glorious artwork, and the amazing 6,000-volume library inside the Hall. But what really swelled my heart was the garden.
English gardens in mid-June could not be more spectacular. Every lane, every public park, and every window box bursts with pinks and reds, purples and yellows. But nothing could have prepared me for the flowers in the Wimpole garden.
Who isn’t enchanted by the very idea of a walled garden? It exudes mystery and romance. What magic lies beyond that brick wall? What is hidden behind that moss-covered door?
Once inside, you become part of a wild drama of bloom and scent. Color flashes in every direction—roses here, lavender there, even the glorious mottled leaves of hearty lettuce shine more brilliantly than you expect.
The glorious pale yellow roses pictures above bathed us in an incredible fragrance. If I knew how to create a link to their perfume, I would.
But we all love roses. They are our glamour flowers—our radiant show-stoppers.
Yet, it was grass—yes, you read that right, grass, and I’m not taking about the “medicinal” kind—that mesmerized me. As the breeze rose and fell, it caught each long, brownish-green stalk in a slow dance. The plant moved to a music I couldn’t hear, although I could plainly see its tempo. Perhaps if I listened just a bit harder, the melody would reveal itself…
You might assume walled gardens like these were built to keep out people and plant-predators (yes, adorable bunny rabbits are predators when you are a head of lettuce). In fact, the walls largely serve as protection from wind and frost. You can imagine how important this was during a time when the fruits and vegetables that appeared on one’s table relied almost solely on what one could grow in the garden.
After my visit to Wimpole’s Walled Garden, my only advice is to find your own walled garden. Find it soon. And when you do, enter.