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Winter gardens to remember - Sir Harold Hillier Garden, Hampshire

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Interesting winter gardens are hard to find at this time of year, but the Sir Harold Hillier Garden near Romsey in Hampshire is an exception. And, if you visit this week, you'll be able to catch the "100 Years Remembering" exhibition of sugarpaste poppies in Jermyn House - all hand-crafted by Lyn Pearce and her students - to coincide with Remembrance Sunday.
Open daily except Christmas and Boxing Day, the gardens are open daily throughout the winter months from 10am to 5pm (last entry 4pm). Admission is £10.90 for adults; £9.90 concessions and children under five go free.

World's largest Victorian glasshouse re-opens at Kew Gardens

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Completion of a five-year restoration project, costing £41million, heralded the re-opening of the Temperate House at Kew Gardens at the beginning of May. Sir David Attenborough described it as a "breathtakingly beautiful space" and others have likened it to a 'botanical' cathedral in terms of its grandeur. But it's also an architectural masterpiece; an extraordinary engineering feat; a sight that shouldn't be missed; and an inspiring day-out.  The magnitude of the project is brought alive through the statistics published by Kew  - 10,000 plants uprooted and replanted; enough scaffolding to stretch the full length of the M25; awesome quantities of paint; 15,000 glass panes replaced; 69,000 sections of components repaired or replaced; and five-years of work. The Temperate House first opened in 1863, causing visitors to stare in amazement then, and was closed 150 years later for refurbishment. Onlookers are once again gazing in awe! It is both the light and spacio…

10 best spring gardens 2018 (2) - West Green House, Hampshire

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It's been too many years since I last visited West Green House garden in Hampshire, but a quick sprint around the property in the sunshine this week was sufficient to remind me just how special this garden is, with its magnificent moongate (above) and exceptional walled garden. Click here to read more about it from a previous posting. All pictures here were taken on my visit this week.




West Green House is open daily until the end of October (except Mondays and Tuesdays) 11.00-16.30.  Admission is £8.00 for adults (National Trust members free).

10 best spring gardens 2018 (1) - Parham House, West Sussex

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In a new series, highlighting seasonal gardens, I shall be posting pictures of some of the best gardens to see throughout the season. Parham House in West Sussex has exceptional walled gardens and extensive parkland, surrounding an Elizabethan house, which is also open to the public. Definitely one to visit if you can get there! And the nursery is exceptional.


Open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. House open 14.00-17.00. Garden open 12.00-17.00. Last admission 16.30. £11.00 for house and gardens; £9.00 for gardens; children free under 5 years. Historic Houses Association and RHS members can enjoy free entry to the gardens on standard open days.

Oh to be in England ... 10 of the greatest spring and early summer gardens around the UK

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There's nothing quite like an English garden in springtime, so in my first post for a long time, I'm highlighting some of the properties that are really worthwhile visiting before the end of May if you possibly can. Special emphasis is placed on properties that are members of the Historic Houses Association (HHA), because you will cover your membership (£50.00 per year) by visiting more than five properties in a year, so well worth joining if you're an avid garden visitor. The best show of tulips anywhere in the South East surely goes to Pashley Manor(above) in East Sussex, which holds an annual Tulip Festival in the spring. It has just started (24 April) and runs until 8 May, open from 10.00-17.00 daily. But although Pashley is a member of the HHA, you cannot use your membership during any special event, so you will have to pay the full £11.00 to get in, but it's well worth it for the spectacular displays of tulips on offer. Borde Hill in West Sussex is another notable …

Top picks at RHS Hampton Court 2017

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The exhibit that really caught my eye at this year's RHS Hampton Court Flower Show was "The Charleston Garden" (above) - one of three very different 'potted' landscapes exhibiting under the Great Gardens of the USA banner. Wonderful planting, a fountain that you cannot miss, and a sense of serenity that you'd expect to find in the deep south. The Kinetica conceptual garden, designed by John Warland is a striking display of colour and simple planting - a must-see if you're into primary colours! Watch out for some of the smaller displays at Hampton Court this year - I was particularly struck by the simplicity of the Freddie's Flowers stand (just around the corner from the Charleston garden) - displaying the glorious flowers you can have delivered to your front door. Watch out for those monster cabbages in the RHS Kitchen Garden - wonderful displays of organic edibles that you can certainly grow at home! "By the Sea", designed by James Collicot (se…

Wordless Wednesday - Rainy day at Hidcote Manor

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