Thursday, 2 July 2009

Garden paradise for all the family

It's all very well being a passionate gardener, but one of the problems of garden visiting is what to do with the kids when visiting gardens away from home! If they're anything like mine, there's no way that they will give a second glance to plants or wonderful border displays... but give them another distraction and you might just get to spend time admiring the garden yourself.

Pensthorpe Nature Reserve in Norfolk offers the perfect solution because it has a spectacular collection of birds which will entertain all age groups and a magnificent Millenium Garden (above), created by my favourite garden designer, Piet Oudolf. There is also the smaller Wave Garden designed by Julie Toll. Both are very different, but quite spectacular and well worth going out of your way to visit. There is a lot of open space here, including a wildlife habitat garden and a wildflower meadow, so kids can run around while "crinklies" admire the flowers.

I have to confess that I am also a bird fanatic, so the other allure of Pensthorpe is its hugely impressive collection of cranes, storks and flamingoes, as well as many other web-footed friends that you won't see elsewhere. But it is the cranes that are really stunning and if you are lucky (or happen to be there at feeding time) you may get to see the cranes in action, like the one above, calling out. These birds are wonderful, majestic and unusual, and Pensthorpe is actively involved in re-introducing the various species to Europe.

But so too are the smaller birds and I was just fascinated by this one's feet (below). When I mentioned this to my son, he replied: "Well, of course, Mum, how else could you walk on the water lilies?" And he has a very good point there!


One of the joys of Pensthorpe is that it's open all year and there is always colour in the gardens and among the birds. Well worth a visit and going out of your way for!

16 comments:

  1. The title speaks for itself.... a true garden paradise. cheers, ~ bangchik

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  2. Lovely image of the Millenium Garden - Piet Oudolf is one of my favorite garden designers too.
    K
    http://www.artistsgarden.co.uk/

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  3. How cute, your son's comment about the bird with the interesting feet. I, too, would be mesmerized by the birds. Living by the ocean, it's one of my passions. Janet

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  4. Well you certainly get around. Looks interesting.

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  5. By just looking at your pictures especially the first one is already paradise for me ;-) Beautiful beautiful!

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  6. Your cranes are much prettier than ours. Still, magnificient-looking birds, aren't they? I've got a holiday coming up in a couple of weeks and hope to do a lot of hiking in several area parks and nature preserves.

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  7. What a grand garden to visit. Love the bird on the lilypads. Your son makes a good point. :-)

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  8. Those feet are fantastic!

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  9. Thanks for telling me the "Whatbird" internet site, it is quite an interesting site.

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  10. Your photography is wonderfully composed and so clear. That garden is just beautiful! Your son is quite perceptive:-) Glad he saw something to capture his interest!

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  11. That Coot (?) is half way to a Water Boatman.

    The top photo is mesmerising - but I would find it quite a trial to have to spend much time looking at birds. I wouldn't be good company!

    Esther

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  12. Ah... instantly recognised the first photo! I agree completely... this was a seriously fav visit for me on hols last year too. I too love Piet and hadn't realised he had a garden here so that was a brilliant surprise!

    We too went for the birds and nature but cannot remember how I sold that to my teenage daughters - perhaps shopping on the next day? If you want another e-re-visit you can see my posting from last year. I posted some video too of birds and the garden.

    I agree about keeping the children amused at gardens too... we have done this for quite a few years now! Our girls enjoyed feeding the birds at Pensthorpe for so long, then... lunch worked ;-)

    Ah... but I see you've visited Trebah too... my girls were younger then and enjoyed the walk under the Gunnera feeling like they were part of a 'Bugs Life' - the kids trail worked well too!

    Happy garden visiting with children - bribery works too... then again you can always give them a video camera to make a film... that has worked every time for us :-D

    BTW... great photos and blog!!

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  13. What a wonderful, magical place! Delightful photos! I wouldn't want to come back home...and the bird that your son commented on, has unusual feet.

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  14. I love these photos! Especially the first one- a delightful place I wish I could visit, just beautiful.

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  15. so much loveliness! Thanks for sharing. I can enjoy these gardens vicariously from across the pond.

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  16. Fantastic! Oh, how you make me want to cross the waters and see such splendor in all of its glory! Very beautiful gardens.

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