Magical "M" gardens from Marrakech to Manor Houses

Majorelle (above) is one of my favourite gardens in the world - this small plot in the middle of Marrakech - former home of the french painter, Jacques Majorelle, who died in a car crash in 1962 - and allowed to fall into a sad state of disrepair before it was lovingly restored by top fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent, who bought the property in 1980 and re-opened it to the public. Filled with cactus, yucca, bamboo and exotic plants from all over the world, this is a magical oasis that you can't miss! You'll remember the blue paint for the rest of your days - stunning!
Marle Place in Kent is a hidden jewel - run by an artist, who has her own gallery there, and with many interesting sculptures in the gardens. Glorious in the spring with all its bulbs; displays of alliums that will take you breath away in June and colour throughout the summer months, this is a plantsman's paradise. A series of garden rooms spread over 10 acres, this garden has been nurtured by the current owner and turned into a real gem! There's a Victorian gazebo; wonderful woodland walks; a lovely walled garden, with splendid orchid collection in the greenhouse and much, much more. 

Head for well-known garden writer/designer, Mary Keen's glorious country home in Gloucestershire (right) if you can when it opens for the National Gardens Scheme next year - located in the village of Duntisbourne Rous, you will cross a ford to get there and be treated to a little patch of heaven in this idyllic Cotswold setting.
Open on several days in 2011 (but check NGS Garden Finder website for details), this garden is quite unique, but well worth making the effort to see if you're in the area. It's open for snowdrops in February and you could combine it with the absolutely wonderful white displays at nearby Colesbourne Park (check John Grimshaw's Garden Diary for full details). I'm going to miss the snowdrops (sigh .... again!) this year as I shall be away in India, but will feature a list of places you can see them before leaving.
One of my favourite gardens closer to home is Michelham Priory in East Sussex (above) - particularly glorious in spring time with its fantastic bulb displays and blossom, but well worth visiting throughout the summer months. Slightly off the beaten track, you'll be able to savour this garden without too many coach parties taking your space, and it's en route to many other great gardens if you're in the area.
Combine Michelham with Monk's House (above) - outside Lewes - for the best of both worlds! The first is a former priory and the second is a charming cottage garden that was once home to Virginia Woolf of the Bloomsbury set. This garden is absolutely wonderful - filled to bursting with flowers in bloom and you've got the history of the house too! I would never have discovered this one without help from Bay Area Tendrils in California. Strange how we often miss things on our own doorsteps, but thank you Alice - I've spent many happy hours here since we visited together!
And finally, Mottistone Manor on the Isle of Wight - a glorious house with a charming garden and exceptional summer borders (above) - this is the property that inspired me to seek out other English manors around the country and see what they had in store for the gardening enthusiast. This garden is unique because there is no watering allowed here - it's survival of the fittest for the plants - but it certainly goes to show what you can do without spending hours outside with the hose!


  1. What a wonderful garden. Happy new year!!!!

  2. Majorelle is at the top of my wish list of gardens to visit...

  3. Magical Ms. I never water the established plants in my garden and they do fine through all our various droughts, including this summer.

  4. How exquisite! I especially love the Michelham Priory -- what a spectacular spot to just sit and reflect.

  5. My wish see all the beautiful gardens featured in your posts! How I wish I the moment, thank your for sharing!

  6. My favorite is East Sussex garden - beautiful walk! Wonderful to see your beautiful flower on this snowy day!
    Makes me feel warm and not worry that much about the over a foot of snow we are expecting!

  7. Charlotte, it sounds wonderful that you are planning a garden"expedition" to Denmark:o)
    Wonderful photos:o)

    I visited "Majorelle" in Marrakech many years ago, before I became a gardenfreak. But I still remember being overwhelmed by the beauty of this garden and its strong and intense colours.

    Happy 2011 with lots of garden- and traveladventures.

    Auntie Green from cold cold Denmark

  8. The first three gardens are owned or run by very creative people, but the East Sussex garden looks heavenly and the image as if taken right out of a painting. So soft and romantic.

  9. Wonderful pictures of great gardens.
    Thank you for sharing!!

  10. Unbelievable that garden can go without any supplemental water! I love it - I'm working on getting my garden to be mostly natives but I can't imagine never having to turn on the irrigation in our hot climate! Happy New Year Charlotte!

  11. I loce the last garden, I have a ewet back yard and I am going to plant all the flowers and I wont have to cut the grass, just a path.
    Happy New Year this was a wonderful post.

  12. I particularly like Marle Place, we are going to build a Garden Room Extension near St. Andrews, Fife, for a client with a similar garden. I can wait to see it finished. Great Blog, keep up the good work.


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