The ten hectare gardens of Ragley surround the magnificent Palladian Hall and provide a glorious display of early spring flowers.
Four hundred acres of parkland were designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown during the 18th century.
Little is known about these gardens prior to1873, when Victorian garden designer, Robert Marnock (1800-1889) created a formal flower garden intended to show off plants discovered in the New World.
The bare bones of Marnock’s late 19th century garden remain in evidence today and has matured into a rich palette for nature with mature trees predominating throughout, producing a rich foil for new developments.
Management and maintenance of the gardens now aims to optimise habitat and food resources for insects, birds and small mammals. The result is a garden in which traditional horticultural features incorporate, and exist alongside, valuable wildlife habitat.
Success of this naturalistic approach demonstrates that it is possible to maintain the horticultural interest and aesthetic appeal of a garden, without compromising native flora and fauna or limiting bio diversity.
Spring Bulb Bank
Early in the season the bank boasts a spectacular show of welcome colour. Even in the harsh month of January, thousands of snowdrops herald the approach of spring followed by Crocus and Daffodils.
The snowdrop collection at Ragley has been growing steadily over the past thirteen years since Head Gardener, Ross Barbour took control of the gardens and decided to indulge a personal passion for snowdrops.
Thousands of snowdrops have since been planted throughout the gardens, mainly plicatus and nivalis crosses. There is a small collection of named varieties including; S. Arnott, Sally Passmore, Augustus, Laninia, Pusey Green Tip and more.
200, 000 crocus vernus were planted in 2007, as a cascade down one side of the garden with strips of Blue (Crocus Remembrance) and Yellow (Crocus Mammoth). The yellow blue and lilac hues of crocus, which supersede the snowdrops, meander lazily down the entire length of the bank. All planted for winter colour and to complement the nearby winter garden. Other species of crocus can also be found around garden in small numbers.
As the weather warms, mixed narcissus planted in large swathes around garden, burst forth giving a glorious golden display, which is followed by a wonderful spring meadow filled with native primroses, buttercups, pink campion, violas and clouds of cow parsley.
Other Ragley gardens
The Rose Garden – Robert Marnock, the renowned garden designer, originally created this formal area as a Victorian flower garden in 1873. The Rose Garden of Ragley Hall is a favourite for wedding parties.
Mixed Border – The mixed border offers colour, form and texture throughout spring, summer and early autumn.
The Winter Garden – The first phase of planting the winter garden was undertaken in the winter of 2005/6 and the second phase during winter 2006/7. The plants chosen for this area have been selected specifically for winter interest and include some unusual species.
The Scott Garden – The Scott Garden was opened in 2004 by Douglas Scott, who is great friend of the Hertford family. This area consists of three main features; the fountain Garden the magnolias and the ponds.
Fumpary – The shade of the canopy and the high water demand of the mature trees which dominate this part of the garden, make it a difficult area to develop and manage. However, the use of old tree stumps reclaimed from Ragley woodland not only provides an excellent habitat, but also creates a beautiful foil for woodland plants such as erythroniums, hellebores and ferns.
Meadow and Prairie – Following the decision in 1999 to manage this area of regularly mown grass as a traditional meadow, this two and a half acre site has matured into a rich tapestry of native flora. Management of the meadow aims to emulate traditional animal grazing patterns.
The Woodland Walk
Part of the picturesque 400 acre park takes a route through grassland, established woodland and young plantations. The woodlands of Ragley hall are home to an abundance of wildlife while providing wonderful views of the House and the surrounding parkland and is an ideal place for children to explore and let off steam.
This carefully managed woodland is a valuable habitat and remains a haven for indigenous flora and fauna.
Ragley Hall park and gardens – Find out more about the unique Palladian House, designed in 1680 by Robert Hooke and it’s stunning gardens.