Leonard's Lee Lakes &; Gardens features about 240 acres (almost 100 hectare) of grounds to explore, seven beautiful lakes in the valley, and nearly 10 miles (16kms) of garden paths and woodland walks.
Leonardslee is much more than just a garden; here wildlife abounds; yes literally! Wallabies have been used in parts of the valley at Leonardslee as environmentally friendly mowing machines ever since 1889. Deer roam in the parks and wildfowl adorn the lakes.
The "Behind the Dolls House" exhibition of a country estate and village of 100 years ago all in miniature 1/12th scale - has obtained world-wide acclaim as unique in its field, and absolutely fascinating.
The collection of Victorian Motor cars dating from 1889-1900 display the finest examples of 19th century automobile engineering and show the different ways in which pioneer manufacturers solved the problem of persuading a car to motor along under its own power.
The Bonsai courtyard houses Ken Norman´s gold medal winning collection and demonstrates this living art-form to perfection
They´re sure that you will enjoy a day at Leonardslee so much that you´ll invest in a season ticket and return frquently to enjoy the ever-changing vistas of the valley as the seasons unwind.
There are plenty of quiet spots where you can sit and enjoy one of England´s most green and pleasant landscapes.
A paradise in Spring ...
In April, the garden opening season begins with the huge blooms of magnificent Magnolias trees, prize-winning Camellias and banks carpeted in Daffodils. In the Camellia Grove in late April and early May many hundred different varieties of Camellias come into flower.. Many of the choice early-flowering Rhododendrons also bloom in April.
The peak of the flowering season is in May when the garden bursts into its full spring-time glory.
In early May, the sumptuous blooms of Rhododendrons and Magnolias overhang paths fringed with bluebells. Some of the Rhododendrons are approaching 200 years old, and have grown into substantial trees and are now some of the largest specimens outside their native haunts.
The Japanese Azaleas in the Rock Garden become a kaleidoscope of spectacular colour. A photographer´s paradise, it is a little oasis of rocks and flowers.
Along the upper walks are some of the original plants of Rhododendron loderi, their branches weighed down by the mass of fragrant blooms. This famous hybrid was raised here at Leonardslee in 1901. A meander along Middle Walk in mid-May is a memorable occasion.
Throughout the second half of May, the fragrant lakeside deciduous Azaleas take their turn to flower, their colours echoed by their reflections in the water, while exotic Gunnera develop their massive leaves.
Ducklings appear on the lakes, and the baby wallabies are starting to catch their first glimpse of the world from their mothers´ pouches.
... peaceful in Summer
Early June is the time for the later-flowering Rhododendrons and Azaleas in the lower parts of the valley around the lakes.
In June, the spectacular Cornus (Dogwood trees) are eye-catching, especially Cornus "Norman Haddon" at the end of the month.
The last week-end in June is their annual Craft Fair.
July and August is the time for the Hydrangeas, and the new plantings between the Rock Garden and the temperate greenhouse are becoming an impressive sight
In mid-July is the annual Model Boat Regatta
Local clubs and enthusiasts bring a varied selection of craft for visitors to enjoy the spectacle of sail, electric and steam ships silently shimmering over the lakes.
Throughout the summer months, the Wildflowers that thrive in this natural setting are a delight, and over sixty of the more interesting ones are photographed and described in our Leonardslee Summer Wildflowers Guidebook.
Escape from the busy world in Leonardslee´s tranquil acres, and enjoy the rich variety of natural habitats. Enjoy the wildlife that have made this earthly paradise their home.
Watch the ducklings and other wildfowl on the lakes - they always appreciate a slice of bread!
Just below the surface like submarines at periscope-depth, huge carp are often to be seen basking in the sun.
See the baby wallabies, as they get out of their mother� pouches and take their first hops on their own.
... mellow in autumn
Enjoy the autumnal glory of Leonardslee. The poet Keats so aptly described this time as the "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" From mid-September until the end of October there is a long succession of colour.
The lakeside banks of deciduous Azaleas compete with Japanese Maples, Liquidambars, Hickories and Tupelos competing with each other for the prize of the most dramatic shades of autumn.
Many other plants add to the varying scene. The changing colours of large trees such as the Beech and Oak, Larch, Dawn Redwood and Swamp Cypress provide a background for the brighter colours of shrubs and smaller trees, while at ground level autumn is also the time for the many different, and often brightly-coloured Fungi and Toadstools.
The bank above the Waterfall pond has been specially planted for Autumn colour, including over 100 varieties of Maples from all over the world. Shrubs and small trees of the genera Cotinus, Rhus, Cornus, Fothergilla and Parrotia each take on their own colourful mantle of Autumn
The specimens in the Bonsai collection also take on their dramatic autumn colours in their turn.