Friday, 3 June 2011

A trio of Hampshire gardens - some of Britain's best-kept secrets!

Dean House has been described as "one of Hampshire's best-kept secrets"
English country gardens don't get much better than this! Three of the most magnificent gardens in Hampshire are open in June for the National Gardens Scheme that you simply shouldn't miss if you want a taste of quintessential rural England. Start with Dean House at Kilmeston near Alresford. A glorious Georgian house with spectacular garden that's been described as "one of Hampshire's best-kept secrets. 
Clipped hedges, abundant flowers and York Stone paths are all features of the fountain garden at Dean House
I can't imagine the amount of work that goes into keeping a garden looking as pristine as this with its sweeping lawns, York Stone paths, acres of immaculately clipped hedges and working walled garden. There's a fountain garden (above), kitchen garden filled with vegetables and cutting flowers, and much more to see at this lovely property, located in an idyllic Hampshire hamlet near Winchester. 
The kitchen garden at Dean House is filled with vegetables and flowers
But equally impressive is Bramdean House, just a stone's throw away, which opens once a month for the NGS every year, from February through to September. This is a traditional garden with many interesting plants, and is famous for its mirror-image herbaceous borders (below). Stretching to five acres in all, you'll find more than 40 varieties of sweet pea here, a one-acre walled garden, and such abundant planting that you'll be hard pressed to identify all the plants.
Bramdean House is famous for its mirror-image borders
Bramdean has absolutely magnificent borders, glorious roses and there are always plants for sale on NGS days. Open throughout the season at least once a month and often featured on private garden tours. This is a garden you'll never forget - a classic English scene, that draws visitors from far and wide to its open days, but tends to get quite crowded due to the short opening times.
Wrought iron gates lead to the orchard, belfry and apple house at Bramdean
And then there's Lake House at nearby Northington, which overlooks one of two large lakes in the Candover Valley. Here you'll find stunning landscaped vistas, a magnificent walled garden, formal kitchen garden and rose pergola. There's no large house here, but a stunning garden complete with moongate. Open on selected days during summer for the NGS.
The moongate at Lake House
These three properties are just three of this year's gardens on offer from the National Gardens Scheme, which has extended its ever-growing list of gardens that open in England. Although the NGS' intention is honourable and the fund-raising efforts magnificent, it's a great pity that more gardens don't open during the week, because weekend visits can be incredibly crowded. But I suspect that weekday openings don't draw the crowds, or raise the funds!
The rose pergola at Lake House
Sadly, none of these gardens open on the same day, so you'll need to visit each separately, but all are close enough to the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, which look good at any time of year, or Mottisfont Abbey, with its legendary rose garden, to make a worthwhile day out.

16 comments:

  1. Gosh, Dean House is just stunning. What a super garden! Thank you for revealing the secret....! I will definitely go to see it. Thank you!

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  2. It's so beautiful! And I know why English country gardens doesn't get any better, this looks great!

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  3. I really must plan a garden tour vacation in that part of the world. It is convenient too that your peak blooming season is after ours (and when it is entirely too hot and miserable outside here). hmmmm. I'm thinking next year!

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  4. I love all of these featured here!! Gorgeous photography, lush gardens, intricate design, and stately architecture make me want to venture beyond the ocean for a long visit. There are so many breathtaking gardens in the UK and I am glad to visit them with you on your blog.

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  5. Heavenly! I am in awe of that kitchen garden. Everything is beautiful!!! Thanks for taking us on the tour with you.

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  6. Bramdean's mirror borders are beautiful, and that moongate is adorable. I'm in love with the rose pergola, too!! Since I rarely travel, I appreciate your tours so much.

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  7. Gosh. I am beginning to think that all you Britishers do is clip hedges and build walls with holes in them.....LOL

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  8. well I would love to visit these gardens one a day ...

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  9. Hey. I like the new look n colours of your blog :) The header pic is a show stopper! Thx for sharing the Best gardens around the world with us here. Its always a pleasure to visit your blog.

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  10. Hi Charlotte,
    What a stunning garden, and close enough to me to take a day out to go and see....next weekend!
    Thank you.

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  11. Charlotte, wow, I love Dean House, your pictures are stunning. We are just back from Cheshire and visited the lovely Tatton park. We got so tied up with the gardens I never got round to visiting or photographing the house.

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  12. Hi. I've visited your blog several times and have never commented -- but I cannot contain myself any longer! The photos and locations are stunning -- like a mini-vacation each time I visit. Thanks for the treats. I'm adding you to my blogroll so I can share your site with friends.

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  13. I love the Moon Gate!!

    Thank you for sharing these lovely gardens

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  14. I hope one day I can visit these gardens too. Lake House and the mirrored gardens have caught my fancy.

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  15. Wow, visiting your blog is like traveling without getting out of the chair. ;)
    I just wished I could find time to visit at least 1 or 2 of those beautiful garden for real.
    Thanks for sharing all those beautiful pictures.
    They will keep me dreaming. ;)

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  16. Thanks for the beautiful photos. Dont ever stop.
    I enjoy reading about english gardens, and hope to see some - one day... You help me pick out what I really like - by showing these amazing gardens.
    Best regards from Denmark
    Eva@
    Evigglade.blogspot.com

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