|First signs of spring at the Pavilion Gardens in Brighton|
When I come to my end-of-year reviews, I always remember how many gardens I've missed in a year! My quest for new gardens takes me all over the country, but my reflections on gardens I've seen reminds me of all the plots I could have re-visited on my travels. I live in Brighton on England's south coast and we have some very fine gardens here, including the Pavilion Garden (above), the Kipling Garden in Rottingdean and some wonderful hidden gardens.
|Bonython in Cornwall has a fine walled garden, lakeside walks and many exotic plants|
Bonython in Cornwall is one to put on your wish list if you're down in the West Country with its stunning views over the surrounding countryside. Particularly eye-catching early in the season with its impressive azalea and rhododendron displays, it also has a fabulous walled garden filled with flowers and champion vegetables in high summer. There's also a fine collection of exotic plants. I have to confess that I didn't get to Cornwall this year, but it's high on my list for springtime 2012 as I'm hoping to catch all those early spring blossoms.
|Brook Cottage is a plantsman's paradise|
Brook Cottage near Banbury is a four-acre plantsman's paradise that will amaze you. It's renowned for its rose displays in high summer, but you'll find plenty in bloom here whatever time of year you visit. Part of the charm of this property is that you can wander through the many different garden areas and not meet a single soul - it feels very intimate and you almost feel as though you're trespassing into a private garden. Located in stunning countryside, you can easily combine this property with the other Cotswold greats including Kiftsgate Court and Hidcote Manor, for a taste of English gardens at their best!
|Bury Court in Hampshire has two very different gardens by two renowned designers|
Bury Court is another to add to your Wish List in 2012 - this extraordinary garden is a veritable masterpiece - designed by two of the greatest modern designers - Piet Oudolf and Christopher Bradley-Hole - around a series of barns. Stunning on a summer's day, whichever garden you see, since they open on alternate months. There is always a plant fair on open days and you'll be hard pressed to get away without purchasing! This garden is located in the heart of the Hampshire countryside, which makes a great day out. But do check the website for openings, because they only happen once a month.
|Harold Peto's water garden at Buscot Park in Oxfordshire|
And for a taste of Harold Peto's water garden talents, visit Buscot Park in Oxfordshire - you won't be disappointed. This is a property on a grand scale, with 150 acres of gardens and parkland, and a fine collection of old masters in the main house. Harold Peto's former home - Iford Manor - is close enough to visit on the same day. And next spring, I'll be walking you around another of Peto's gardens - one that you don't normally get the chance to see! I had a sneak preview last week and can't wait to show readers when it comes into flower in 2012.