I'm leaving for the US tomorrow and won't be home for several months, but as the big thaw continues (despite more snow flurries today!), I realised that I'm going to miss some of the wonderful spring gardens in England this year. I won't see the bluebells, or the daffodils, so wanted to flag up a few gardens for my readers, in case you've got the chance to visit when there are carpets of spring flowers. And if you do ... please take some pictures for me!
Two exceptional gardens that you can visit in a day are Mottisfont Abbey (above) with its incredible camellias, and Heale House (below) with its acres of daffodils - both are quite wonderful in springtime, and you may want to think about planning a visit as the days grow longer. Longstock Park is another must see in this vicinity - but opening times are very limited and I have yet to get there (because of the restricted hours), although only last week someone was telling me what a beautiful garden this is.
Cornwall also has more than its fair share of exceptional spring properties, and the gardens tend to be ahead of those further east. You've got a glut of glorious gardens including Trewithen (below), with its incredible spring bulbs and camellias; Caerhays Castle, which will leave you gasping because the spring camellia and rhododendron displays are so incredible; and other amazing gardens on the Helford Estuary, including Trebah and Glendurgan. You'd need a week in Cornwall to take them all in, but I think this is the best time of year because prices are lower and the county is less crowded.
If you're planning visits to British gardens, you may find my Garden Directory useful - it lists nearly 100 properties that I visited in 2009. I hope you enjoy these gardens .... and I shall be back reviewing American gardens next week, including the new Botanical Garden at Naples, which I plan to visit over the weekend. I shall also be touring the Carolinas, Georgia and several other states in the next few weeks, so hope you'll check in to see where I've been.