Wildlife in the garden

Photo: Alan VenterThe sheep that graze beyond the Ha-ha and the rabbits that nibble away at our choicest plants are not the only animals that live in the Glyndebourne gardens.

The shyest critters are the stoats and weasels who may be glimpsed darting across the lawn by fortunate early-risers. Much bolder are the pheasants that strut around, eating the buds of tulips and crashing through the borders in a feathery flash of colourful plumage.

Insect species are also abundant. Our former gardens adviser, the late Christopher Lloyd, was an expert on butterflies, instantly identifying the fritillaries, tortoiseshells, painted ladies amongst other species that live in the gardens. His favourite, however, were Glyndebourne's chalk hill blue butterflies, which when spotted would prompt great excitement. Planted with many nectar-rich plants, the gardens provide a wealth of food for butterflies, moths and bees from the garden's hive throughout the year.

It is birds, though, that are the most conspicuous in the gardens.

Geese; Kevin MartinSwallows darting low over the Ha-ha lawn are a familiar Glyndebourne sight and long-time visitors remember the bats that lived in the old theatre - though stories of them becoming entangled in performers' wigs are probably apocryphal!

On still, warm evenings singing linnets compete with the singers on stage and nightingales are known to perform occasionally.

For a number of weeks in spring 2010 four turkeys, escapees from a local keeper who found fame on BBC News, took up residence in the garden. On cold days their favourite place was the covered foyer, where they seemingly took great delight in startling staff and visitors alike.

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Due to demand from other customers seats are reserved for a maximum of 20 minutes in order to allow you to complete your purchase. If the order has not been completed within this time, all seats will be removed from your basket.