In my ongoing alphabetical posts, I'm looking today at some of the best gardens I've visited beginning with the letter "B". And we start with Bateman's in East Sussex (below), one-time home of Rudyard Kipling - an enchanting place to visit, with its formal lawns, working mill and riverside position. Kipling was a keen gardener and the property retains much of his original planting, including his famous pear tunnel. Open mid-March to October.
Benmore Botanic Garden (below) is a must if you get to Scotland, with it's incredible collection of trees (particularly good for autumn colour) and ornamental shrubs. Plants are grouped either by geographical location or type and you could easily spend a whole day here just looking at the extensive collection. The stunning location makes it even more enjoyable for walks. Open from April-September, but check website for times.
Beth Chatto's garden (below) is famous the world over and deservedly so. This is an incredible garden at any time of year and the latest addition is the Gravel Garden. Anybody who has an interest in water and shade plants will have heard of Beth Chatto, so the garden is a must! Located in Essex, it serves as a gateway to some of the fabulous gardens further east. A riot of colour in the summer months, but always worth visiting.
Bonython in Cornwall (below) is worth taking a detour for if you are down in the West Country - with its fabulous walled garden, views over the surrounding countryside and walks. Particularly stunning early in the season with its fabulous collection of azaleas and rhododendrons, it goes on to display some of the finest vegetable displays I've seen and has fine collections of exotic plants. The current owner's verve and enthusiasm really show in the planting - this is one of my favourite Cornish gardens. Open April - September.
Bury Court in Hampshire is another must see, if you can get there on the few days a year it's open. It is actually two very different gardens around a series of barns - the first, designed in collaboration with Piet Oudolf and the second by Christopher Bradley-Hole. Quite stunning on a summer's day, whichever garden you see - the two gardens actually open on alternate dates! Right in the heart of the Hampshire countryside, this makes a great day out, because there are so many lovely country pubs around if you want to stop for lunch. Do check the website for openings though, because as already stated ... they are infrequent and it took me a couple of years to actually get here!