Flower power in full bloom at Temple Newsam in Leeds

PIC: Simon Hulme
PIC: Simon Hulme
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Heidi Kear, from Birkenshaw, runs through Temple Newsam – and with the azaleas and rhododendrons in full bloom it’s a sure sign that summer is here.

The Leeds estate is well-known for its impressive gardens and lakeside walks. While the history of the place can be traced back to the 12th century, the building of the main house began in 1500.

Described by some as the ‘Hampton Court of the North’, less than 40 years later the property was seized by Henry VIII, who gave it to his niece Margaret. It was the beginning of uncertain times for the estate, which only came to an end in 1622 when Temple Newsam was bought by Sir Arthur Ingram for £12,000.

During the next 20 years the mansion was rebuilt, but it was 150 years later when the estate visitors know today really took shape and Capability Brown was brought in to landscape the park.

By the 1850s the gently meandering paths which lead down to the lakes boasted fully-grown trees and shrubs and the main walkway has since developed into the rhododendron walk.

Nearby the walled garden is now home to five of the 11 National Collections held by Leeds City Council, including impressive herbaceous borders and rose beds set within the 18th century brick walls. And while the summer months may attract the most visitors, the more delicate collections of spray, charm and cascade chrysanthemum collections provide a blaze of autumn colour in the conservatory.

Earlier in the season spring bulbs, cineraria and Genista give way to foxgloves and cornflowers providing a changing floral palette.

Last year, for the first time in almost 100 years, the growing of vegetables was reintroduced on the estate.

A joint effort by some of Temple Newsam’s staff, trainees and volunteers, the homegrown produce will be used in the tea room and any surplus stock 
will be for sale to visitors in 
Mrs Pawson’s Shop in the courtyard.

Technical details: Nikon D3s camera, 80-200mm lens, 1/1000th sec @ f11, ISO200.