I thought I’d planned things quite well, having two shoots in Sussex on the same day. I’d booked out much of the day to shoot a home in Burgess Hill, and was then booked to shoot a restaurant in Crawley, late afternoon and evening. The home, however was smaller than expected, and I was finished by lunchtime, leaving me with a large gap in the middle of the day. Lunch was definitely required, and something to kill a few hours too. So I took the opportunity to use my National Trust card at one of the many possible properties that exist in that part of Sussex. And Wakehurst it was. I knew it would be looking pretty good on that sunny spring day, but it exceeded expectations. This has long been a favourite time of year, when the landscape is a frothy haze of blossom and slowly emerging greenery. And I’m sure I think the same every year, but the blossom really has been extraordinary this spring.
Wakehurst is one of those perfect combinations of formal, cottagey, and woodland gardens. The late Elizabethan stone mansion sits on expansive lawns, which gently slope away to shrubberies, water gardens and then woodland, culminating at a lake at the bottom of the valley. I didn’t make it that far this time, and started around the side of the house in the delightful walled garden, where tulips were holding court.
The Elizabethan mansion
The gardens were ablaze with rhododendrons and azaleas, piers, magnolias and more.
But my favourites, have to be the Acers, or Japanese Maples. With the leaves not yet fully formed, you could see through to their extraordinary contorted bonsai like trunks.