Gardens have been synonymous with love ever since Adam and Eve and there are plenty of romantic spots hidden amongst the abundant richness of Wakehurst’s stunning gardens, trees, hills and lakes, that are perfect for visiting on Valentine’s Day.
On Sunday February 14, visitors to the Wakehurst estate in Ardingly will not only be strolling past a visual feast of plants in flower at that time (including camellia, witch hazels, snowdrops, winter heathers and Himalayan Daphne), but will also be wooed by their strong, sweet perfumed scents.
In England and France during the Middle Ages, it was popular belief that birds began seeking out their mates on Valentine’s Day and serenaded by some mellifluous birdsong at Wakehurst there will be plenty for other love-birds to see or do.
Lovers visiting the Mansion pond to see the birds on the water or take photographs of their other halves with the Elizabethan Manor House in the background, will also notice a patch of Viola odorata ‘sweet violets’ off the path as they walk to their right-hand side.
The sweet violet (due to flower in February or March) is the traditional Valentine flower, as St Valentine, who was imprisoned for marrying Christians, wrote a letter to his sweetheart, signed ‘From your Valentine’ using the ink from sweet violets that he could reach from his prison cell.
Luckily there’s no history of entrapment at Wakehurst - only of the giving, romantic kind (the mansion is a popular wedding destination).
Why not rest awhile in the Stables Restaurant, which used to house the mansion’s horses and enjoy a special two course Sunday Roast (along with two other hot meal options) for £14.
These meals come with a complimentary glass of red or white wine and a large heart-shaped cookie for two to share. What more could you ask to put a sense of ‘Spring’ in your step?!
Don’t miss out on a treat! Enjoy our Valentine’s and other seasonal delights www.kew.org/wakehurst
Following Valentine’s Day, Wakehurst are offering a half-term week of activities themed ‘All things Hearts’.
From Monday February 15 – Friday February 19 there will be fun science and art activities on offer for just £3 per participant.
Report and picture contributed by Wakehurst Place.