|The Dutch Water Garden at Hampton Court, Herefordshire|
July took me to Herefordshire this year, where I visited Hampton Court (above), as well as Hergest Croft, Westonbury Mill Water Gardens and Little Malvern Court. Two days wasn't long enough to do justice to these incredible gardens, so I plan to go back next year and catch them all again, as well as other properties that I missed.
|Sandgate Close in Seaford, Sussex - a tiny botanical garden by the seaside|
"Small is beautiful" certainly applies to Sandgate Close in East Sussex - an interesting property, which admirably demonstrates what you can achieve in a tiny plot! Even though the owners were worried that I was visiting so late in the season, I was delighted by this garden. The owners open their pride and joy for the NGS and various charities throughout the season, and in 2012 you might want to combine this with Geoff Stonebanks' amazing garden just down the road.
|Sarah Raven's Cutting Garden, which opens for the NGS during the summer months|
In September, I managed to get a sneak preview of Sarah Raven's Cutting Garden, just before it opened for the NGS. It's an interesting property and, as you'd expect, filled with flowers! Of course, Sarah's made her name by offering exclusive flower arrangement and cookery courses at her home in East Sussex, so you might want to check out what's on offer in 2012 and you can combine a touch of learning with the joys of her garden.
September sees Sussex Prairies in full glory! I first visited Paul and Pauline McBride's garden in the winter of 2009, but since then this prairie garden has risen to dizzy heights in the gardening world and been featured in all the major gardening magazines. But the innovative owners are always coming up with new ideas and this summer saw many new artists showing their work in the garden.
|Dazzling perennials and art in the garden at Sussex Prairies|
In November, I visited a garden that's been on my Wish List for the last five years - Nek Chand's amazing Rock Garden in Chandigarh, India. I was amazed by what I saw there and lucky enough to meet Nek Chand and spend some time with him, talking about the incredible feat he's accomplished in the 27-acre plot on the outskirts of Corbusier's city, using recycled waste products throughout. Sadly, the time I had there was limited, but I plan to return in 2012.
|The undulating hedging and reflecting pool look good throughout the year at Veddw|
I certainly can't compete with Charles Hawes on the photography front, or indeed Anne Wareham on being "The Bad Tempered Gardener", but I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak at one of my favourite gardens today, on the first day of December - glorious Veddw in Wales. The good news is that the structure of the garden is no less impressive on a cold winter's day than it is in high season, but the bad news is that it's not open to the public at this time of year, so roll on 2012 and make sure you add this garden to your "Bucket List". It still remains in my top 10 gardens in the world! And if you can't get there, why not put Anne and Charles' books on your Christmas Wish List?