|Chartwell in Kent - former home of Sir Winston Churchill|
All the new gardens I saw this year in the "C" and "D" sections of the alphabet definitely have a story to tell, starting with Chartwell in Kent, former home of Sir Winston Churchill and his family. The house and garden enjoy a magnificent hilltop position, with fantastic views over the surrounding countryside. The Prime Minister loved his home and spent as much time as he could here when he was not busy masterminding the politics of his country. His two great passions were bricklaying and fish breeding, and his talents are evident in the walled garden (above) that he created - which is filled with both cutting flowers and vegetables during the summer months, and the many lakes an ponds at the property.
|Chenies Manor is a blaze of colour in springtime, with its spectacular tulip displays|
Chenies Manor House in Buckinghamshire has long been on my Wish List, because I'd seen many photographs of the tulips in bloom and wanted to see them for myself, so a flying visit in April revealed the true glory of this garden in springtime. It's only open on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, so tends to get crowded as the whole gardening community knows about the spring flower displays. But well worth making the effort to see and easily accessible from Central London.
|Cliveden - a garden on a grand scale with fountains by Thomas Waldo Story|
Cliveden, one-time home of the Astor family and now in the hands of the National Trust is another impressive Buckinghamshire landscape garden with fine views over the surrounding countryside. Known for its impressive fountains and walks, this is a garden on a grand scale, and a house with quite a history, and much scandal attached to it, including the famous Profumo affair of the 1960s. Also famous for its Thomas Waldo Story fountain (above) and water garden, Cliveden makes a good day out for the family.
|Denmans - open all year round and designed to draw the eye in many directions|
Open throughout the year, and designed with colour, structure and shape in mind, John Brookes' brainchild - Denmans - is quite different to other gardens that you'll find in the South East - clever planting and schemes designed to compliment one another ensure that there's always something to see here, rain or shine. This garden is open throughout the year and only closes three days a year at Christmas and New Year and has been planned so carefully that even those winter visits will delight.
|Dorothy Cliveden has dazzling spring colour displays when the rhododendrons are in bloom|
The garden that Dorothy's husband created and named for his invalid wife, lives on today and provides pleasure to all that visit, particularly in springtime when the rhododendrons and azaleas are in bloom. Colonel Clive created a fantastic rhododendron collection here and in April and May, with more than 250 cultivars, and the Quarry Garden (above) is a blaze of colour in springtime. But there's also plenty more to see in the summer months and this is definitely a property to bookmark if you're in the area.