Country Gardener

Widely regarded as the authority on gardening in the south west

Garden visits

Ramblers, Lower Common, Aylburton, near Lydney, Gloucestershire

Winner of The English Garden magazine’s competition Britain’s Best Gardener’s Garden for 2014, Jane and Leslie Hale’s peaceful medium-sized country garden has informal cottage planting, herbaceous borders and a small pond looking through hedge windows onto a wild flower meadow. The front woodland garden has shadeloving plants and topiary. There’s a large productive vegetable garden and an apple orchard.

Open for the NGS: Sunday 3rd May, Sunday 14th June, 1.30-5.30pm. Admission: £3.50, children free. Home-made teas, plants for sale.

21 Chestnut Road, Brockenhurst, Hampshire

Iain and Mary Hayter celebrate their tenth year of opening their garden for the NGS this season, and have planned a few surprises with some remodelling carried out over the winter. There are lots of mature colourful borders full of bulbs, shrubs and perennials and the kitchen garden,
with imaginative ideas for planting in different conditions, both wet and dry, sun and shade. Plants are chosen to blend sympathetically and encourage wildlife. Visitors can see lots of ideas with differing styles from formal to relaxed that are aimed to inspire.

Aller Farmhouse, Williton, Somerset

Mr and Mrs Richard Chandler’s garden is seven miles from Minehead. Covering almost three acres it is dry, sunny, and southfacing, surrounded by pink stone walls and the walls further dividing the garden into five separate compartments. The area known as Cliff Garden is an old three-sided quarry. As well as old magnolias, figs, a Judas tree and newer acacias, there are many unusual and/or tender plants in this garden including Eremurus, Beschorneria, Dendromecon, different echiums and Buddleia colvilei.

2 Warsash Close, Sampan, Southampton, Hampshire

Originally part of Swanwick Strawberry fields this compact garden just over four miles from Fareham, owned by Amanda and Robert Bailey, is packed with interesting plants. The front garden’s lawn and hedge have been replaced with grasses and perennials and two small alpine sink gardens. The rear walled garden that is just 27ft x 50ft has been planted for year round interest. The ornamental area is filled with shrubs, perennials and old roses, while a small circular lawn is edged with a brick rill. Three raised vegetable beds are backed by a blue, lean to glasshouse.

Durcombe Water, Furzehill, Barbrook, Lynton, Devon

Make the most of this opening for the National Garden Scheme at this stunning location three miles south of Lynton, as it is likely to be the last for the charity. David Sydenham has created his lovely garden single-handedly over the last 13 years since his retirement, and maintains it entirely on his own. Now at the age of 76, he and his wife Pam have taken the decision to retire from the pressures of opening to the public.

Longhope Gardens Open for the NGS

Three beautiful gardens set in the valley of Longhope with sweeping views across to May Hill and the Forest of Dean. Each garden has its own style and delights for you to discover offering something for everyone whether you are looking for inspiration for your own garden or just want to enjoy being in a beautiful garden. You can enjoy a delightful afternoon visiting the gardens, wandering through the village and stopping off for homemade tea, cakes and plant sales.

Shalford House, Kingsley Green, West Sussex

This ten-acre garden two miles south of Haslemere owned by Sir Vernon and Lady Ellis has been designed and created from scratch over last 24 years. It’s in a beautiful hilly setting with streams, ponds, waterfall, a sunken garden, azaleas, good late borders, and a walled kitchen garden. A wild flower meadow with orchids, prairie style plantation and a stumpery merge into seven acres of woodland. There is an additional 30 acre arboretum with beech, rhododendrons, bluebells, ponds and specimen trees.

The Bannut, Bringsty, Bromyard, Herefordshire

This well-known and established three-acre garden is starting another chapter with new owners Gareth and Tamla Bowdler for 2015. It’s a traditional garden with stunning rhododendron and laburnum walks, garden rooms including a unique knot garden, specimen trees and an extensive heather garden. Some areas will be undergoing transformation. For children there’s a nature trail and potting area.

Down Place, South Harting, West Sussex

Just a couple of miles from the Hampshire market town of Petersfield, and over the Sussex border, South Harting lies below the South Downs. Down Place, owned by Mr and Mrs D M Thistleton-Smith, is a seven-acre hillside chalk garden a mile from the village on the north side of the South Downs with fine views of the surrounding countryside. There are extensive herbaceous, shrub and rose borders on different levels merging into a natural wild flower meadow renowned for its collection of native orchids. At this time of year spring flowers and blossom abound.

Bramdean House, Bramdean, Alresford, Hampshire

Mr and Mrs H Wakefield’s beautiful five-acre garden is famous for its mirror image herbaceous borders. There are carpets of spring bulbs and a large and unusual collection of plants and shrubs giving year-round interest. A one-acre walled garden has prize-winning vegetables, fruit and flowers. The garden is trialling hardy nerine cultivars in association with the Royal Horticultural Society. There’s a small arboretum, a wild flower meadow, a boxwood castle, and a large collection of old fashioned sweet peas. It’s also the home of the nation’s tallest sunflower, ‘Giraffe’.

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