MID­SUM­MER MAS­TER­PIECE

Set amid the flat­lands of the North Nor­folk coun­try­side is Pen­sthorpe Nat­u­ral Park, home to one of Bri­tain’s most ra­di­ant June gar­dens, finds Ta­nia Pas­coe

Countryfile Magazine - - Great Days Out - Ta­nia Pas­coe is a travel writer, nat­u­ral­ist and gar­dener, and the au­thor of Wild Gar­den Week­ends.

The song of the sky­lark rings out against the back­drop of a big Nor­folk sky. In the vast wild­flower mead­ows, south­ern marsh or­chids, del­i­cate marsh va­le­rian and over 25 species of but­ter­fly herald that sum­mer is here. Cov­er­ing 700 acres, Pen­sthorpe sur­rounds the River Wen­sum flood­plains, its wood­land, wet­land, carr, breck and heath cre­at­ing an in­ter­play of ecosys­tems that teem with life. The crys­tal chalk wa­ters are abun­dant with na­tive cray­fish and wad­ing av­o­cets. Mid­sum­mer marks the be­gin­ning of the Mil­len­nium Gar­den’s un­ri­valled flower show – an acre of nat­u­ral­is­tic prairie-style plant­ing where you can ex­pe­ri­ence clouds of blos­som­ing peren­ni­als and grasses as they dance to an orchestra of in­sects.

Pen­sthorpe’s Mil­len­nium Gar­den, de­signed by plants­man Piet Ou­dolf, is an im­por­tant refuge for in­sects in the spring and sum­mer

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