Looking at Wordsworth House’s glorious garden now, it’s hard to believe that, back in December, it was under several feet of water as Storm Desmond brought severe flooding to the centre of Cockermouth.
Thanks to the tireless work of head gardener Amanda Thackeray and her team, the heritage garden that helped inspire William Wordsworth to become a poet is once again filled with heady scents and vibrant colours.
The profusion of old-fashioned shrub roses has to be seen – and smelt – to be believed. The large pink, white and crimson blooms of Rosa Mundi, which dates back to the 12th century, jostle for space alongside the crimson rose of Lancaster, also known as the apothecary’s rose, and Quatre Saisons, one of the oldest roses, which has an unusual second flush of flowers in late summer.
Ms Thackeray said: “It’s taken a tremendous amount of effort, but I’m thrilled to say the garden is looking lovely. And with the roses in bloom, it’s the perfect time to visit. It’s difficult to imagine now that on 5 December the whole thing was engulfed by several feet of muddy, silty water.”
The house where William was born is no stranger to flooding – like the rest of central Cockermouth, the National Trust property was badly hit in November 2009. It meant the team who look after the walled garden, which runs down to the River Derwent, knew exactly what to do this time round.
Ms Thackeray said: “December’s flood cost us a lot of plants and left us with a huge amount of cleaning up and replanting. A few areas are still awaiting replanting with herbs, but the bulk of the work is done now and the rest will happen shortly.
“One of my favourite sights at the moment is the shrub rose Burnet bursting into bloom along the terrace walk where William and his sister Dorothy loved to play. It really is beautiful with its masses of creamy-white flowers, and once the flowers are finished they’re followed by sumptuous black hips.”
Amanda is very proud of her colourful geraniums too. She said: “We have everything from subtle white to cool shades of blue and a whole array of pinks. Geraniums are an amazing genus as they flower for a long period. My particular favourite is the shocking pink Geranium Patricia.
“I also love Valeriana officinalis, or common valerian, which has heads of sweetly scented pinkish-white flowers and pops up throughout the garden.”
Wordsworth House and Garden, on Main Street, Cockermouth, is open to visitors every day, except Friday, from 11am to 5pm (last entry 4pm). For information on summer events and activities, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wordsworth-house.
Posted by Hawksmoor Admin