Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire. Breakfast, Cows and Peace

The glory days of Doddington Hall have been documented here on two occasions: firstly, when the cherry blossom was out and, second, earlier in the year, as snowdrops, crocus and winter shrubs vie for attention in the well stocked gardens. Today was a quieter time, as the early bulbs die back and colour is provided by fresh green foliage and the striking rhododendron and azalea. But first was breakfast in the incredibly popular cafe and restaurant. So for the first time on the blog I'll feature food. We had a vegetarian and a conventional breakfast. I'll leave the reader to decide who ate which.

Fortified, we toured the garden. The kitchen, walled garden is splendid in season but it is the ancient chestnut trees under-planted with erythronium that normally captivate me. Sadly the flowers were spent albeit bluebells offered some consolation together with the odd pheasant eye narcissus. (I shall have to provide advice on late flowering varieties.) There is a lushness to the growth and an overall peace about the gardens that pleases eye and ear.

I'm a mug for garden statues and that above would find a place in our garden any day of the week. The more formal gardens behind the great house have beds framed immaculately by box and in late May the iris plantings are quite stunning.

I must not omit the rare and richly coloured Lincoln Red herd of cattle that graze the estate. They make a real spectacle and I would keep them for their visual appeal alone though they make for tasty delights in the restaurant and flourishing farm shop.

And so to the rest of the estate where we walked by the small lake and visited the Art Barn where the local arts society were exhibiting their wares. One of the pieces of glassware almost made me part with my money. As I type this I still believe I should have treated myself. (I photographed it in situation, on the windowsill.)

Belton House, Lincolnshire, wild flowers, boathouse and sculptures

Belton House has some of the best naturalized displays of bluebells, of all colours, and after the daffodils have largely gone over they greatly extend the spring season. However, the old boathouse in the morning sun caught my attention, together with the orangery and sculptures in the church and grounds.

Spring Bedding, Brodsworth Hall

Sunday saw us make a quick visit, between showers, to see Brodsworth Hall's spring bedding. The garden team have excelled themselves this year. I suppose I prefer informal gardens but when done well, as it is here, there can be nothing more striking. The array of colours is stunning.

Wentworth Castle Gardens Closed - The Last Day

The closure of Wentworth Castle Gardens was well aired on this blog last month and today, after we returned from our vacation, we took two of our grandchildren and our daughter to the Easter event for families. It was a joyous event tinged of course with sadness. Still, it was a family occasion so the images reflect that. So not the normal post.

And remembering .....

Galanthus 'Mighty Atom'