There are several portals through which one passes in order to get to the entrance of the Palace proper. This is the outer gate.
D's ticket to enter.
This is the second portal.
The is the inner courtyard, and all those people are walking up the steps to the main entrance to the palace.
Wouldn't you know this would be one of the only really sunny days during our trip. Here is the group of us all squinting into the sun as a group photo is taken - taken with each person's camera. You can imagine what the last photos must look like - eyes closed and tears streaming down faces!
Blenheim's gardens represent the peak of the Landscape Style and also Edwardian (formal design with informal perennial plantings). Water features are an important element. There is a reason for the odd-to-us color of the water. If I remember correctly it makes reflections easier to see than black or dark green water.
Another constructed water feature is the lake. Originally there wasn't one there so Capability Brown (garden designer) constructed one. Lots and lots of packed mud and clay were carted in and pressed into place to form the lake bed. It took years to build and care must be taken to keep it from leaking which it does periodically.
A beautiful fountain surrounded by smaller ones and parterre de broderie. My quilting friends will probably pick up the meaning of that phrase because we use the phrase broderie perse, a type of applique. For those of you for whom this is a new term, I found a good definition in the on-line Brittanica and have included it for you. While very formal, I found it quite lovely although daunting to replicate!
broderie, also called parterre de broderie (French: “parterre of embroidery”), type of parterre garden evolved in France in the late 16th century by Étienne Dupérac and characterized by the division of paths and beds to form an embroidery-like pattern. The patterns were flowing ribbons of form (generally of formalized foliate design) rather than the angular shapes typical of other types of parterre; and the various beds into which the parterre was divided by paths were coordinated in a single symmetrical design.*
And then there are the topiary birds.
Several times I found myself astonished by the vast expanses. The size of the trees give you a sense of how big this estate is to be able to have many, many trees of amazing girth and height.
And speaking of vast expanses; I wasn't able to get the entire Palace in this photo.
Now back to some gardens. When I started these entries on our trip, I mentioned what I learned and listed color, texture, and size. This photo shows all three characteristics in foliage (it was impressed upon me that foliage plays a pivotal role in the success of a garden).
Here again- look at all the different shapes, colors, and sizes. Of course, there's water, too (unexpected, I know).
Those quick glimpses one gets while on the way to somewhere else.
A view of the lake through the trees.
Walking beside the lake, no matter where one looks, it's a painting waiting to be started.
Look at the surface of the water - reflections, yes, but texture, also - even without a ripple!
More of the lake and beyond next time.