Posted 18th Feb 2016
Do you ever find yourself wondering exactly what impact the seasons could have on a historic venue?
Oxford's Blenheim Palace has produced a video giving you a taste of how life at Blenheim changes throughout the seasons and talk you through it below.
This Spring enjoy the Pleasure Gardens at Blenheim Palace. The Pleasure Gardens have been especially designed for younger members of the family. Discover the Marlborough Maze, the world’s second largest symbolic yew hedge maze and the Butterfly House which has over 200 butterflies inside. The Lavender Garden is specifically set out to enhance the native butterflies and you can spot plenty of nectar enriched plants are grown in this area.
Spring is also the best time to view The Italian Garden. Redesigned in the early 20th century by the 9th Duke of Marlborough on the advice of his architect Duchêne. Formal symmetrical scrollwork parterres in box and yew replaced the earlier scheme of carpet bedding, and a new bronze fountain by American sculptor Waldo Story was installed. Look out for the precise nature of The Italian Garden’s box-hedges – each one trimmed using spirit-levels, string and many hours of dedication! Spring brings the arrival of colour with the vast urns being planted with Seville tulips, which are tall, elegant and a vibrant red colour. Dutch Master daffodils flower in abundance in the beds in this area too.
Summer is the time to visit the Water Terraces, which were constructed between 1925 and 1930. The terraces are reminiscent of the Parterre d’Eau at Versailles. On the lowest terrace stands the scale model made by Bernini for his famous fountain in the Piazza Navona in Rome. See beds of fragrant ‘Pascali’ roses, which flower from late May into early Autumn and 12 vast terracotta urns which are decorated each Summer with ‘Canna’s, a deep orange free-flowering lily which stand a metre or so in height.
Don’t miss the Rose Garden in June, which is contained within a circular walk, arched over by slender hoops supporting climbing roses of a delicate pink. The central statue is surrounded by symmetrical beds of roses that form a delightful display of floral beauty. From the Rose Garden, take a short walk past the hidden Temple of Flora and on to the newly restored Grand Cascade - designed by ‘Capability’ Brown in the 1760s.
Autumn is the perfect time to visit the Secret Garden at Blenheim Palace lies to the east of the South Lawn. It was restored by the 11th Duke as part of the Battle of Blenheim tercentenary celebrations in 2004. While introducing many new features the restoration also retained much of the original layout, originally designed by his father. Autumn is the perfect time to see the glorious russet colours from the assorted trees, shrubs and grasses which grace this area. In particular the Japanese Maples look spectacular set against the back drop of the giant cedars, English oaks, horse chestnuts and cornus. In contrast to the formal gardens and sweeping parkland, the Secret Garden is a secluded area where winding paths lead over bridges of tranquil water. This informal style - and the fact that the plants here are named - provides a welcoming atmosphere for keen gardeners and families alike.
During the Winter season explore the 2,000 acres of ‘Capability’ Brown landscape, which was carefully designed so as to appear natural but is in fact 'contrived to pleasing effect'. Discover landmarks such at the Column of Victory, the Cascades and the Grand Bridge designed by Vanbrugh. There are a number of excellent walks taking you around the Parkland which are perfect for spotting the array of wildlife, scenes from films shot at Blenheim Palace and seeing the beautiful frosty landscape.