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Thursday, 23 March 2017

Is spring coming earlier?

Yesterday, two days after the equinox, the gardens of Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire were glowing with spring flowers – daffodils and bluebell-like scilla dancing under the trees.
But looking through photos taken on a previous visit, I found a similar scene taken on April 20 2013. Slightly different angle, same tree, same flowers - much later. A sign of climate change?
In any case, it means there’s a lot to see and enjoy in the grounds right now. The Daffodil Valley (above) is clothed in yellow, while the formal bedding is looking spectacular.
And if you walk down to the Stables, you’ll find a new attraction, the Treaterie. Here are homemade crepes and waffles, cakes, pastries, macarons and fudge, and artisan ice cream made by Elizabeth Prior of Oliphant and Pomeroy (who, on its opening day, confessed to having been up at dawn, preparing the mix for the salted caramel ice cream).
Other flavours include some from the Waddesdon archives, which may well have been enjoyed by Queen Victoria and the future Edward VII when they were entertained by the manor’s original owner, Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild.
Waddesdon Manor is a National Trust property some 6 miles from Aylesbury. There is now a free shuttle bus that picks visitors up once a day from Aylesbury Vale Parkway station. It links with the 9.57am train from London Marylebone and returns at 4.15 for the 4.43 train Wed – Fri. Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays it leaves at 4.45pm for the 5.13pm train. 2017 exhibitions include Glorious Years (highly decorated 17th c French calendars and almanacs), now on; Power and Portraiture (featuring Elizabeth 1) and Creatures and Creations are both open from June 7.

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