Amazing gardens in the Midlands & East of England for 2018
Brenda Watkinson continues her look at what’s blossoming in the gardening world.Amongst Lincolnshire’s gardens are those at Doddington Hall, (just outside Lincoln) which retain their Elizabethan layout and include a wild garden while north of the city in Market Rasen, Brightwater Gardens are well worth a visit.
They comprise a series of contrasting garden rooms around the house with walls, yew, beech and box hedging enclosing each area. A newly constructed viewing deck overlooks the garden and the many areas currently being developed. In February, the gardens will open as one of the country’s newest snowdrop and winter gardens.
Moving south to Grantham, Easton Walled Gardens has lots of interest all year round including a spectacular display of sweet peas in the summer.
Brightwater Holidays are specialists in escorted Garden Tours both within the British Isles and further afield providing tailor-made travel arrangements for groups.
Typically, their tours include all transport, accommodation and entry costs to gardens and other specialist attractions to suit the group’s individual requirements and they can also provide an experienced Tour Manager to help keep everything running smoothly.
One of their specialist tours is to the East of England, an area which they feel is overlooked. On the six-day ‘Gardens of Norfolk and Suffolk 2018’ tour, the itinerary includes many gardens visits including Blickling Hall (National Trust), Holkham and The Beth Chatto Gardens.
An exciting project continuing to evolve at Holkham is the restoration of the six acres of walled garden, which was originally laid out by Samuel Wyatt during the late 1700s. In Victorian times the garden would have provided a constant and varied supply of food and decoration to the hall.
Several large Victorian greenhouses have been restored back to their original splendour with the help of English Heritage and there are also sunken greenhouses scheduled for renovation in the near future.
The vegetable garden is already providing sufficient produce for the family’s kitchen, for entertaining and any surplus food is used at The Victoria Inn. The walled garden is situated approximately ¼ mile to the west of the hall with a free buggy service operating for those visitors who prefer not to walk.
Aylsham in Norfolk will host the official launch of Repton 200 – a year of nationwide celebrations coordinated by the Gardens Trust marking the bicentenary of the death of Humphry Repton, who succeeded Capability Brown as Britain’s greatest landscape gardener.
Repton first worked as a landscape gardener at the nearby Catton Park and during his lifetime he designed around 400 landscapes across the country including another Norfolk estate, Sheringham Hall, Cheshire’s Tatton Park, Attingham Park in Shropshire and Bedfordshire’s Woburn Abbey, producing his now famous Red Books, which showed his clients ‘before’ and ‘after’ views of how he would improve their land.
An installation of bronze wildlife sculptures by artist David Meredith at Trentham Gardens in Staffordshire has been very popular and has expanded the Gardens’ reputation as an open-air art gallery. The display is included in the standard garden admission and features leaping salmon, pheasants, owls, horses and a deer buck and hind.
Trentham Gardens is known for its large scale projects and its latest is already under way – the creation of one of the largest sequence of colourful ‘pictorial meadows’ in any historic landscape in the country while another aim is to plant around one million bulbs around the lake in the next decade.
Other nearby gardens are the Secret Walled Garden at the Emma Bridgewater factory, and two National Trust gardens – Biddulph Grange’s Victorian Garden and Shugborough Estate.
In Shropshire, Wollerton Old Hall Garden near Market Drayton covers 13 acres and is set around the 16th century hall, and is designed as a series of separate rooms. Intensely cultivated it is modern yet in the English Garden tradition and reveals echoes of Arts and Crafts. Cheshire’s Rode Hall, has beautiful displays of snowdrops in February and bluebells in May.
Further south, in Worcestershire, the mighty Perseus and Andromeda fountain at Witley Court and Gardens (English Heritage) is now operating and visitors can watch its jets soar on the hour, every day, with the sculpture’s central jet reaching an astounding height of up to 30 metres.
Witley Court has wilderness and wildlife gardens, woodland walks, nine-acre lake and restored formal gardens.
- Belmont House and Gardens
- Borde Hill Garden
- Mount Ephraim Gardens
- Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
- Savill Garden
- Sussex Prairies Gardens
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