Garden Portrait : Dunster Secret Garden

Dunster is a Medieval village in north Somerset on the edge of Exmoor closest to the Bristol Channel. There is a castle on a wooded hill which has existed here since at least Norman times, with an impressive medieval gatehouse and ruined tower giving a reminder of its turbulent history. There is also a working…

Garden Portrait: Hergest Croft

Hergest Croft is unusual in having been gardened continuously by three generations of the same family over the past one hundred and thirteen years. It lies in the heart of the Welsh Marches with stunning views towards the Black Mountains. The gardens contain a unique collection of rare plants, trees and shrubs and over 90…

Garden Portrait: Powis Castle

The castle and garden is in Welshpool, Powys. The gardens are spread out over several Baroque terraces leading down through shrubs and giant cloud-shaped yew hedges to a large lawned area and a former kitchen garden and a woodland walk. All backed by a patchwork of fields, villages and hills of the Welsh border countryside….

Garden Portrait: Stourhead

Stourhead is often called “one of the most beautiful of this country’s landscape gardens” with a gentle harmonious planting of broad-leaved trees, conifers and rhododendrons. The valley landscape began in the 1740s by Henry Hoare II who had returned from a three-year tour of Italy and was inspired by the Roman Campagna ( a low-lying area…

Garden Portrait: Polesden Lacey

I have visited Polesden Lacey a few times, but always too late for the wonderful Mrs Greville’s Rose Garden. This National Trust owned property is in Great Bookham, Surrey and designed as the perfect setting for entertaining royalty, politicians and the top dogs of the Edwardian society. Just a little second home then. I’ve never…

Garden Portrait: Scotney Castle

Scotney Castle and Garden lies in west Kent close to Lamberhurst village and is one of the most romantic landscape gardens designed in the picturesque style. The planting is very natural with the ruins of the 14† century Old Castle at its centre. The ‘new’ castle was built in 1835 which was when the gardens around…

Garden Portrait: Edinburgh Botanic Garden

It is almost 9 months since my visit to Edinburgh, where I finally met the restless lady who takes us on regular walks in the north-east of England and the Algarve where she spends all most some of her time. After a morning of walking the streets of the city we got on a bus…

Garden Portrait: Glamis Castle Italian Garden

In addition to the Walled Garden is the more formally designed Italian Garden, close to the actual castle. The garden  was laid out by Countess Cecilia, the Queen Mother’s mother, c.1910 to designs by Arthur Castings. The fan-shaped parterres of formal beds are separated by gravel walks. Between the two gardens lies the Pinetum which was planted c.1870…

Garden Portrait: Glamis Castle Walled Garden

Glamis Castle lies in Angus, Scotland and is probably best known as the childhood home of the Queen Mother (Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon). At the age of four her father inherited the Earldom of Strathmore and Kinghorne and with it Glamis Castle and the family spent some of their time there. It is the setting for…

Garden Portrait: Dartington Hall

Designer Henry Avray Tipping (1855-1933) the distinguished architectural editor of Country Life magazine gave this advice to the RHS in 1928: “Let there be some formalism about the house to carry on the geometric lines and enclosed feeling of architecture, but let us step shortly from that into wood and wild garden” His reputation was based on…

Garden Portrait: Coleton Fishacre

Welcome to Coleton Fishacre in south Devon, a gorgeous Art Deco style house and a beautiful valley garden that leads you to a coastal viewpoint. The house was built in the 1920s and the country home of the D’Oyly Carte family (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame). A 30 acre garden surrounds the house and the National…

Garden Portrait: Trebah in winter (or A Walk to Alice’s Seat)

As the weather hasn’t been too bad recently I took the opportunity in early February to drive the 30 miles or so to the Helford river and pay a visit to Trebah gardens. Many of the Cornish gardens (and this is classed as one of the greats) are famous for their spring planting so I…