"H" for Historic Houses with gardens
There are so many exquisite gardens beginning with "H" that I can't fit them into one entry, so I'm concentrating on members of the Historic Houses Association today, because you won't get finer architecture than this and the gardens are spectacular too! If, like me, you are interested in visiting gardens, this is a wonderful organisation to join - you pay an annual fee and you can visit most gardens free - you also get the quarterly magazine which gives you news about member properties.
Heale Garden near Salisbury in Wiltshire is heavenly! A fabulous house (above) provides the backdrop to a truly wonderful garden, designed by Harold Peto, which starts blooming in spring. You'll really enjoy the endless vistas of daffodils here, with a tributary of the River Avon flowing behind. This is one of my favourite English gardens - there's always something to see and the grounds are beautiful. There's even a Japanese garden, complete with bright red bridge (below) that was brought over from Japan at the turn of last century and assembled by four Japanese gardeners!
Hestercombe Gardens (below) near Taunton in Somerset are another Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens triumph - he provided the architectural interest, with rills, pools, steps, pergola and orangery and Miss Jekyll used her talents to make the most of the flamboyant planting. It's a spectacular combination and has the added advantage of wonderful views over Taunton Vale. Definitely worth making a detour to see and there are so many other wonderful gardens locally including gems like Lytes Cary and Cothay Manor (not members of the HHA), that you may want to stay locally and visit them all!
Hole Park in Kent (right) is another must-see! A lovely early 18th-century house, set in the heart of the country, with 15 acres of gardens which feature many lovely statues; fine, tall, specimen trees, and wonderful vistas over the surrounding countryside. I'm told the bluebell displays are magnificent, but haven't seen them for myself. I loved this garden, but do check website for opening times.
Houghton Lodge in Wiltshire (below) is just a stone's throw from Heale House and enjoys a fine hilltop position overlooking the River Test, which is known for some of the finest fishing in England! The house is certainly unusual and the gardens are lovely, especially in springtime with the endless drifts of daffodils. There is also a lovely walled garden and lots of topiary, plus a hydroponicum (where plants are cultivated without soil).