|Marks Hall in Essex has a glorious walled garden redesigned for the new Millenium|
With all the wind, rain and gales here in the UK in the past few weeks, garden visiting hasn't been an option, except in your dreams! So as an antidote to all the foul weather, I'm revisiting some of the gardens I saw last year, from Marks Hall in Essex - an impressive arboretum and garden, to Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire, famous for its spectacular rose displays, while planning my garden visits for 2012.
|Matara Gardens in Gloucestershire - off the beaten track and certainly one to watch out for in future|
Marks Hall and Arboretum (top) is one of a group of Essex gardens I visited for the first time last year, along with Green Island and Saling Hall. It has fine vistas and walks, and an interesting walled garden, completely redesigned for the new Millenium, which is now reaching a new stage of maturity and providing plenty of eye candy for visitors in the summer months.
Just as impressive, but less well known because it hasn't really featured on the garden tourist map yet are the Matara Gardens (above) Gloucestershire, nestling in the heart of glorious countryside and used primarily as a private wedding venue. There's a lot going on in this garden, with new areas are being developed all the time and if you're in the area visiting any of the glorious Cotswold properties near Cirencester, it's one to put on your list.
|Merriments will give you plenty of ideas for your garden at home|
Merriments has always been one of my favourites. Located close enough to some of the really well-known gardens in Sussex and Kent, this is one of the best nurseries in the South of England, with a beautifully designed garden that will inspire you with all sorts of ideas for your own, even if you can't achieve the same grand scale you find here. I doubt that any visitors get out without buying plants for their garden at home, and I know that some of my favourites have come from here over the years.
|Monk's House - a charming Arts and Crafts garden and former home of Virginia Woolf|
Monk's House near Lewes in Sussex is one of England's hidden garden gems. It may be small, but it has an interesting history as the one-time home of Virginia Woolf, and the garden is beautifully planted to provide visitors with a really uplifting feeling when they first walk into it. The only down side is the extremely limited opening hours, with the garden on view just two days a week, but if you can get there on one of those days you won't be disappointed.
|Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire - famous for its roses|
Mottisfont Abbey is legendary for its roses and even has special evening openings during the summer months so that visitors can enjoy the rich scents at twilight. But visit at any time during high season and you'll find plenty to see in this 21-acre garden, designed in part by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe.
In the next of my alphabet reviews, I'm going to look at some of the great NGS gardens on offer around the UK during the summer months. And the sun's shining, so I might even get out into my own garden today!