|Painshill - an 18th century landscape park in Surrey|
More than half way through the month of January and although we've already seen heavy winds, severe frosts and snow here in the UK this month, many plants are way ahead of schedule and the traditional spring flowers are well ahead of themselves. On sunny days it's a great time to explore some of the gardens that remain open throughout the year, including Painshill Park (above). I've visited several times, but never reviewed these wonderful 18th century landscape gardens within a stone's throw of London. So one for my "To Do" list for 2012!
|Painswick remained hidden in a valley for years before re-discovery some 30 years ago|
Painswick Rococo in Gloucestershire is about to come into bloom again with its fine snowdrop collection, followed in the spring by spectacular tulips. This is the only garden of its kind in Europe and is filled with fine Rococo buildings. Re-discovered only recently, the garden has been restored to its former glory and its six acres are well worth exploring.
|Poleden Lacey is famous for its roses|
Polesden Lacey is one of the National Trust's most visited properties in Southern England and remains open throughout the year for walks. Much restoration work has been carried out here recently and there's a winter garden which will soon be full of snowdrops. Polesden is famous for its rose garden in the summer, and also offers spectacular tulip displays in springtime.
|The garden at Restoration House has been loving restored|
Restoration House in Kent is closed during the winter months, but is certainly worth visiting during the summer, when it opens its doors on Thursdays and Fridays from the end of May to September. This is a hidden gem in the middle of Rochester, which has been lovingly restored. Plans are now afoot to restore the land next door, which was recently saved from the jaws of a property developer!
|Seriously ... this is what you'll find on a Central London rooftop!|
And for a really unusual garden, head for Babylon Restaurant in London's Kensington High Street, where you can have an excellent lunch and enjoy the roof garden, complete with flamingoes! Although there won't be much in bloom in the winter months, there's plenty on the menu inside and the unique location of this property, on a rooftop in Central London, makes it one to put on your Wish List for 2012.