Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex
Set in 250 acres, the five lakes and falls shimmer with reds, pinks, yellows and white, reflecting the abundant waterlilies that thrive here, plus the kingfishers and dragonflies they attract. A joy.
If you’ve ever owned a grape vine, the Hot Wall will have a place in your heart. Enjoy the wide variety of floral favourites, such as dahlias, clematis and roses, and for a small donation take home a bunch of their sweet peas.
Powis Castle and Garden, Powys (above)
The shadows of the 13th-century castle’s dark history are dispersed by the wild and cultivated flowers, giant yew hedge topiary, ancient orangery and a peerless view of the Severn Valley.
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Mottistone Gardens, Isle of Wight
The valley is ideal for subtropicals. Tall, fragrant ginger lilies mingle with feathery exotic grasses. Best of all, double herbaceous borders are crammed with vivid African daisies.
Mount Stewart, Co Down (above)
Lose yourself in idiosyncratic and formal themed gardens – from the Italian and Spanish to the Shamrock Garden, with an amazing array of Mediterranean plants and flowers, plus a rose garden.
Ham House Garden, Richmond, London
Parts of the 17th-century grounds of this magnificent house are so formal, you’re surprised the gardeners don’t wear evening dress. But it’s not all manicured edges and topiary. There’s a wilderness area, delightful cherry garden and the kitchen garden is producing fresh produce well over 300 years since the first skirrret took root there.
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Colby Woodland Garden, Pembrokeshire
If a carpet of wildflowers is more to your liking than formal garden design, then Colby’s meadow is for you, as it comes alive, particularly in July and August. The woodland garden has the country’s tallest Japanese redwood, set among paths, streams and azaleas and rhododendrons. Make the most of the sun and enjoy family picnics, climbing trees and running through the meadow.
Greenbank Garden, Glasgow
This 18th-century walled garden has more than 3,600 types of plants. Best of all are the 16 acres of rhododendron woods. You might catch a glimpse of Highland cattle, too.
Felbrigg Hall Gardens, Norfolk (above)
The walled garden showcases some rare (for the UK) treats. The ‘Headache Tree’, or ‘Balm of Heaven’ as it doubtless prefers to be known, Chilean lantern tree and Japanese loquat are all magnificent.
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Coleton Fishacre, Devon
In a coastal setting, the gardens of the former home of the D’Oyly Carte family possess a rugged charm and the micro climate encourages exotic plants such as pink protea and the gigantic Echium pininana.
Croome’s Summer Garden, Worcestershire
‘Capability’ Brown added his magic touch to the gardens surrounding the 18th-century seat of the Earl of Coventry – and, in the 1980s, the UK HQ of the Hare Krishna movement! The scent of roses fills the air, white flowers adorn the hedges lining the main pathway, with displays of spiky-topped cardoons and honeysuckle, and in the meadow are wild orchids that have simply seeded naturally.
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