Country Gardener

Widely regarded as the authority on gardening in the south west

Garden visits

Pennington House, Lymington, Hampshire

A splendid seven-acre garden created around 1910 by Frederick Grotian, with expansive lawns and clipped yew hedging surrounding an Italian sunken garden, a rose garden, rejuvenated rockeries, ponds and a stream. The garden is under the management of head gardener Tom Maskell, with a large Victorian walled garden and glasshouse that are in full use and all has been organic for 24 years. The grounds of Pennington House, owned by Sue Stowell and John Leach, offer a relaxing visit in a rural, tranquil setting overlooking the Solent. 

Wortley House, Wortley, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire

Simon and Jessica Dickinson’s 20-acre garden will be opening on Tuesday, 23rd June for the first time for the NGS by pre-booked ticket only. This new initiative has been inspired by the reluctance in the past of certain garden owners to open for the NGS because of concerns about security and their ability to cope with large numbers.  Admission will be more expensive (£15 in this case), but as numbers will be limited, visitors will be shown round personally by the owners and will have the sense of being on a private, exclusive visit to the garden. 

Rose Cottage, Kempley, Gloucestershire

Open this year in June with more than 200 dahlias on display, Naomi Cryer’s garden of roughly an acre of flat ground at Rose Cottage is put mostly to herbaceous borders. There’s a hot bed and long border leading to a borrowed view, a small parterre in the orchard area, a grass bed and pond. The small wild flower pasture is at its best in June. Then there’s the rose garden to see, the iris bed, hydrangea bed, a vegetable plot with a nursery bed and cutting garden.

Barton House, Barton-on-the-Heath, Warwickshire

With many rare and mature trees including a 550-year-old Spanish chestnut, azaleas, species and hybrid rhododendrons, magnolias, and moutan tree peonies, a Japanese garden, a secret garden and a rose garden, a visit to Mr and Mrs I H B Cathie’s idyllic garden will make for a splendidly varied visit. There are six and a half acres to explore around the manor house by Inigo Jones (not open). The secret garden has many camellias and the fragile Magnolia delavayi that only fl owers for one day every year.

Ramblers, Lower Common, Aylburton, near Lydney, Gloucestershire

Winner of The English Garden magazine’s competition Britain’s Best Gardener’s Garden for 2014, Jane and Leslie Hale’s peaceful medium-sized country garden has informal cottage planting, herbaceous borders and a small pond looking through hedge windows onto a wild flower meadow. The front woodland garden has shadeloving plants and topiary. There’s a large productive vegetable garden and an apple orchard.

Open for the NGS: Sunday 3rd May, Sunday 14th June, 1.30-5.30pm. Admission: £3.50, children free. Home-made teas, plants for sale.

21 Chestnut Road, Brockenhurst, Hampshire

Iain and Mary Hayter celebrate their tenth year of opening their garden for the NGS this season, and have planned a few surprises with some remodelling carried out over the winter. There are lots of mature colourful borders full of bulbs, shrubs and perennials and the kitchen garden,
with imaginative ideas for planting in different conditions, both wet and dry, sun and shade. Plants are chosen to blend sympathetically and encourage wildlife. Visitors can see lots of ideas with differing styles from formal to relaxed that are aimed to inspire.

Aller Farmhouse, Williton, Somerset

Mr and Mrs Richard Chandler’s garden is seven miles from Minehead. Covering almost three acres it is dry, sunny, and southfacing, surrounded by pink stone walls and the walls further dividing the garden into five separate compartments. The area known as Cliff Garden is an old three-sided quarry. As well as old magnolias, figs, a Judas tree and newer acacias, there are many unusual and/or tender plants in this garden including Eremurus, Beschorneria, Dendromecon, different echiums and Buddleia colvilei.

2 Warsash Close, Sampan, Southampton, Hampshire

Originally part of Swanwick Strawberry fields this compact garden just over four miles from Fareham, owned by Amanda and Robert Bailey, is packed with interesting plants. The front garden’s lawn and hedge have been replaced with grasses and perennials and two small alpine sink gardens. The rear walled garden that is just 27ft x 50ft has been planted for year round interest. The ornamental area is filled with shrubs, perennials and old roses, while a small circular lawn is edged with a brick rill. Three raised vegetable beds are backed by a blue, lean to glasshouse.

Durcombe Water, Furzehill, Barbrook, Lynton, Devon

Make the most of this opening for the National Garden Scheme at this stunning location three miles south of Lynton, as it is likely to be the last for the charity. David Sydenham has created his lovely garden single-handedly over the last 13 years since his retirement, and maintains it entirely on his own. Now at the age of 76, he and his wife Pam have taken the decision to retire from the pressures of opening to the public.

Longhope Open Gardens

The village of Longhope is sited in a long and enclosed valley with wonderful views of May Hill and surrounding countryside and a splendid 12th Century church. There are four gardens open for visitors to explore and you can enjoy a delightful afternoon visiting the gardens, wandering through the village and stopping off for homemade tea, cakes and plant sales. Each garden has it's own planting style and offers something for everyone whether you are looking for inspiration for your own garden or just want to enjoy walking and sitting in a beautiful garden.

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