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Showing posts from October, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Autumn Colours at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens

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Wonderful to visit at any time of year, but looking quite lovely now with all the autumn colours is theSir Harold Hillier Gardens at Romsey in Hampshire. And if you're really quick, you can catch the sculpture in the garden, in situ until the end of the month.

Will Giles' Exotic Garden treat in Norfolk

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Will Giles' Exotic Garden in Norwich, Norfolk is one that I've been trying to get to for a couple of years, but both time and weather have conspired against me and it remains at the top of my wish list for 2012! But fear not, my great friends Paul and Pauline McBride of Sussex Prairies, who are working with me on the Disha Hospital project in Rajasthan made it there today and kindly sent both pictures and words to make a welcome guest entry for "The Galloping Gardener". Thank you Paul and Pauline. And just so English readers know - the garden opens for the last time this Sunday, see information below!
The Tropic of Norwich
Mid October and here we are within a stones throw of Norwich city centre, surrounded by lush tropical bananas, breadfruit and ginger plants!! Will Giles has created this amazing tropical haven on a steeply sloping site, overlooked by a huge tree house perched in a mature oak in the middle of the garden (right). It’s only half an acre but feels much …

Best of British castle gardens II - Hampton Court, Hever and The World Garden at Lullingstone

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My quest for castle gardens took me to pastures new this year. First to Herefordshire, to Hampton Court - a fine castle which has origins back to the 15th century, with a first-class garden. Completely renovated by an American, who bought the property in 1994 - this is one of the best-kept gardens I've seen yet. It's a good combination of landscaped areas and ebullient planting and comes complete with maze and water garden. There's also a fine Dutch garden (below). Next stop is Hever Castle, which I've featured many times before here, because it also has one of the finest gardens in Britain and a collection of statuary that will make you sit up and stare - all acquired in Italy by former owner, Lord Astor, who also lived at Cliveden in Buckinghamshire. Hever has all the magical attributes that a 14th century castle should - a moat, a water maze, an impressive lake and following Lord Astor's involvement - one of the finest Italianate gardens in Britain. Another really…

An Englishman's home is his castle! British castle gardens I

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Britain has more than its fair share of castles - originally built to protect their inhabitants against marauding invaders, but now many of them are in the stewardship of organisations like the National Trust and open to the public. We're also incredibly lucky that many of them have beautiful gardens and in this first of three blog entries about castles, I shall review some I've seen in the last couple of years, starting in the far north of the country at Ardtornish, home of the Raven family, which has a magnificent garden, filled with trees, and exceptionally beautiful at this time of year.
Ardtornish is a plantsman's garden filled with many fine shrubs, specimen trees and fine views over the adjacent loch. It's also the former home of John Raven, the well-known botanist who wrote "The Botanist's Garden" and Sarah Raven, who runs the Cutting Garden at Perch Hill. A visit to this garden makes a wonderful day out if you're up in this part of Scotland, b…

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is in flower." Catch that autumn colour around the UK!

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Grand gardens of Britain - Cliveden - in the heart of the countryside

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Britain has many gardens on a scale so grand, you can do little else than gaze at them! Cliveden is one such property - former home of the rich and famous; surrounded by scandal over the years and burnt to the ground twice, today's house was built in 1850 for the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland. It sits on top of a hill with astounding views over the surrounding countryside and although the house is now a luxury hotel, the gardens, which are open to the public throughout the year, are run by the National Trust. No expense was spared when the gardens were laid out in the first half of the 18th century, and subsequent owners of the property made their own imprint on the grounds. Many of the impressive statues, sarcophagi and giant urns that grace the gardens were acquired by William Waldorf Astor, the American millionaire who had a gift for acquiring monumental masonry from the Italian aristocracy. His impressive collection is housed between Cliveden, which he purchased in 1893 and …

Blazing the pumpkin trail in Cornwall - Trengwainton

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Trengwainton in Cornwall is about as far west as you can get in the UK before falling into the ocean! This delectable 25-acre garden enjoys some of the mildest weather in Britain and the planting here is, for the most part, sub-tropical. The result is a wonderful combination of exotics, which thrive in a micro-climate, alongside more traditional English plants, and an impressive walled garden. Visit like I did, late in the afternoon, and you might even be lucky enough to see a rainbow over Mounts Bay and beyond! The fabulous walled garden is divided into five main areas, and boasts impressive magnolias in early spring; tempting fruit and vegetable displays during growing season; and dazzling autumn hues at this time of year in the form of multi-coloured pumpkins and late-flowering perennials. Combine this with the subtle autumn light and you'll have a veritable feast for your eyes and memories to record forever with your camera. In the 19th century Trengwainton was home to a form…

Galloping Gardener Walks © - Autumn delights in Devon

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There's no getting away from shorter days as we enter October, but what better place to be than Devon now that the children are back at school and the gardens there are a blaze of autumn colour? Today, I'm featuring three very different gardens that will really give you a taste of Devon at its best - all are open until the end of October, and even if you can only get to see one of them, you won't be disappointed! Start at The Garden House - one of my favourite gardens anywhere in England - with its wonderful acer displays at this time of year, but just as impressive at any other time during the open season - this must be one of the most romantic and mystical gardens I've seen yet.  The terrain is hilly and there are a series of garden rooms, constantly changing and evolving, but the whole garden comes together and creates an impression of absolute serenity.   Move on to Marwood Hill near Barnstaple for a very different experience with its rolling landscape, subtle col…