A United Kingdom Garden Tour: The Top Five
WE ARE EXPERIENCING the coldest, iciest, snowiest winter in living history in Canada, so I decided I needed to publish a post full of warmth, colour and the beauty of nature. I give you, the English garden. The first time I visited the United Kingdom, many years ago, I was struck by their abundant beauty. A moist, temperate climate seems to be the perfect recipe, and the English are appropriately one of the most garden loving nations on earth. I have been to several well-known gardens in London and the south-west of England on previous trips, but for this post, I’ve picked the top 5 most stunning gardens in the land.
Sissinghurst Castle Garden
One the of the UK’s most iconic gardens, Sissinghurst Castle was designed by poet and writer Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicholson. After falling in love with the castle, they wanted to create a realm that reflected the romance and intimacy of her poems. The grounds are dedicated to beauty with colourful, abundant planting and themed areas. The castle itself has a rich history from its time as a prison in the 1700’s, to a family home and then to a residence for the women’s land army. Today, you can stroll through the uninhabited original buildings, view the glorious vistas from the top of the Tower and wander through the Vita and Harold’s charming garden, retained for posterity.
RHS Garden Wisley
On the outskirts of London, the RHS Garden Wisley, located in Surrey, has been a truly exquisite showcase of gardening expertise for more 100 years. In the springtime, the daffodil display is one of the major drawcards for many tourists and locals alike, while in autumn the fruit fields are alive with delectable harvests. RHS captures the imagination with its densely planted borders, whimsical rose gardens and impressive glasshouse.
Bodnant Gardens looks like it could re-ignite your senses! Located above the River Conway, this 32-hectare botanical garden features expansive lawns and romantic corners, idyllic ponds and inspiring terraces, with stunning views across Snowdonia. The flowers release their scents into the air, the cool, moist aire tingles and the eyes are delighted by the seasonal colour changes.
Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden
This 900-year-old Cistercian monastery is Britain’s largest, and claims the title of North Yorkshire’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. The adjoining Studley Water Garden is a feast for the eyes with elegantly landscaped foliage complete with neo-classical statues, a Victorian church, bridges that overlook the tranquil pond, ruins and, to top it all off, a medieval deer park.
Stourhead embodies 18th century landscaping at its finest and has been described as a work of living art. Unlike the other gardens mentioned, blooming flowerbeds do not dominate this allotment. The main features are sweeping lawns, a picturesque man-made lake, classic temples and mystical grottos. You could spend a day here discovering the exotic trees and enjoying the wonderful display of rhododendrons.
All gardens mentioned are open to the public and make for a great day out. While some charge an entry fee, tours can easily be organised through the official National Trust UK.
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