As we're sitting here in the South of England waiting for the snow to thaw (and we've certainly seen more of our fair share of the white stuff in the last month!), I thought I'd revert to my alphabetically listed gardens, and give you some glimpses of some of the best starting with "L".
Lamorran is one of my favourite English gardens - way down in Cornwall on the Roseland peninsular - this is one of the best kept secrets in the county and well worth a visit. The gardens are on a steep incline overlooking the sea, and the planting is so dense that you feel as though you're in a jungle! This property is quite unique - Italianate in style, with many wonderful statues - but also notable for its collection of palms and tree ferns, which flourish on its south-facing slopes. Opening times are quite restricted, so do check the website before visiting.
Just down the road is Lanhydrock with its 17th century mansion and unique gatehouse (above). This garden couldn't be more different than my previous entry. Famous for its astounding collection of magnolias in the spring, this property boasts wonderful woodland walks and views over the surrounding countryside. Former home of the Robartes family, it has been under the stewardship of the National Trust since 1953 and the garden is open all year. The house is also well worth visiting, but is not open in winter.
Moving away from Cornwall, there's Lower Severalls, another of my favourites (above). Hidden away in deepest Somerset, this is an unusual cottage garden with dense and unusual planting and a series of "rooms" featuring different plants in the water, bog and dry gardens. There's also a very good nursery.
Lytes Cary is another unique garden to visit if you're in Somerset and is easily accessible from Lower Severalls - a wonderful medieval manor house (above), with magnificent topiary and an Arts and Crafts garden that looks stunning in the summer with the dense planting, and splendid borders.
This area of Somerset is a great place to base yourself if you're doing garden tours, because you can also include Tintinhull, Barrington Court, East Lambrook and Montacute on your wish list and all are within easy reach. It's worth looking at a map and planning to spend several days here if you want to take advantage of all the gardens - and certainly worth dreaming about, if like me, you're still snowed in!