The onset of warm summer weather in late June has ensured that this year’s display of hardy water lilies at Burnby Hall Gardens is looking fantastic.
They bloom between June and August and the colder nights in late May and early June slowed their progress down for a couple as weeks owing to water temperatures dropping overnight. However, they are now in full bloom and are currently being enjoyed by the thousands of summer visitors who come to see them at Pocklington’s award-winning Gardens.
More than 100 varieties of hardy water lily grow on the upper and lower lakes, making Burnby Hall Gardens one of only two national collections of these in the UK, the other being in Weymouth, Dorset.
The lakes were originally constructed for Major Stewart’s love of fishing and were regularly stocked with rainbow and brown trout. It was Major Stewart’s wife Katharine’s love of flowers that inspired the idea of using the lakes for the growing and display of hardy water lilies.
Major Stewart engaged Perry’s of Enfield, a water lily experts from Middlesex, and they advised the Stewarts to drain the lakes and build a number of brick beds to house the water lilies. The beds were filled with heavy clay as water lilies prefer to grow in a heavy soil, and Perry’s then planted 50 varieties in them.
Following Major Stewart’s death, the Stewart Trust has been responsible for developing the water lilies in the Gardens and, in 1993, on a symposium visit by the International Water Lily society, it was commented upon that the collection was one of the best collections in a natural setting that they had ever seen.
The water lilies will be on display throughout the summer and Burnby Hall Gardens are open daily between 10am and 5.30pm.