Weekend Wandering: Get thee to Lacock

The crocus meadow at Lacock Abbey
View from Lacock Abbey grounds towards Bowden Hill  
The warmer weather and afternoon sunshine tempted us out for a walk around the grounds of Lacock Abbey yesterday. I didn't know this extraordinary sight greets visitors in March, even though I've lived in Wiltshire for over 30 years.

In the Botanic Garden, Head Gardener Sue Carter writes:

"Our carpets of Cornus vernus have spread from a few corms planted by William Henry Fox Talbot*. We leave them to seed, so they are still colonising new areas, making the display bigger each spring. It means we can't cut the grass in our crocus meadows until late June or even early July, so there are a couple of months of scruffy grass, but we think it is worth it for one or two glorious days in March."

I quite agree.

In nearly 200 years Crocus vernus has spread itself out a bit
The display extends well beyond that gap  
* = William Henry Fox Talbot lived at Lacock Abbey in the early 19th Century, so we're looking at almost two centuries of naturalisation. It's a further legacy to Fox Talbot's more widely known pioneering work in early photography.

My favourite Cornus vernus cultivar is 'Pickwick'. There's an area called Pickwick in nearby Corsham, which is where we made our first home when we moved to Wiltshire. I spotted a fainter version of Pickwick's familiar stripeyness amongst the natural variation on display at Lacock.

Note to self: I must buy some C. 'Pickwick' when the bulb catalogues come out this summer.


  1. A veritable breathtaking purple haze.

  2. I bought some crocus Pickwick recently and I really like them. I've got them in a pot.

    1. That's a good idea Margaret, then I could plant them out in the green where there's an obvious gap 😊

  3. What a stunning surprise! You must have been very glad that you picked that time to visit Lacock - and now you know to return at this time in spring next year. Crocuses en masse like that are such a glorious sight, there's a house on the edge of Hampstead Heath that has a front lawn crammed with crocuses at the moment. It's great now but looks a right mess once the flowers have gone!

    1. It's strange Caro, I've been post Crocus and never thought the place looked scruffy... probably because of all the wild garlic nearby.

  4. Thanks for your kind comments everyone, enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  5. Our first cat was called Pickwick - her crocus would be fun in our garden but the climate doesn't suit.

    1. That's a shame Diana... especially as we've seconded many plants from South Africa into our gardens


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