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Top spring gardens
East Blickling Estate, Norfolk Four centuries of good husbandry have made Blickling's 55 acre garden one of the greatest in England. It changes through the seasons and has evolved over the centuries to reflect different fashions. Visit in May and...
It’s going to be a very special show this year: the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, or ‘Chelsea’, as gardeners tend to call it, is celebrating its centenary, with RHS vice president Alan Titchmarsh launching the RHS Chelsea Centenary Appeal to raise £1m for...
Daffodil walks
From St. David's Day onwards comes the traditional celebration of daffodils, a welcome sight after the long, cold winter. Many of the National Trust's 200 gardens will be bursting into colour throughout March and April, heralding spring as they spread...
Top Summer Gardens
Anglesey Abbey Gardens and Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire With wide avenues and a sweeping Herbaceous Border, Anglesey Abbey Gardens are the perfect place to while away a summer's afternoon. Enjoy the heady scent of the Rose Garden, dazzling dahlias and the...
Find your own winter wonderland
East Anglesey Abbey, Garden and Lode Mill, Cambridgeshire The Winter Garden at Anglesey Abbey bursts with life at this time of year. Designed specifically with plants that give winter colour, texture and fragrance, it is a beautiful sight to be enjoyed...
Into Virginia Woolf’s garden
Monk’s House in East Sussex was bought by Leonard and Virginia Woolf as a country retreat in 1919. At the beginning, lacking funds, the Woolfs endured conditions that were primitive to a degree unimaginable today – no electricity or running water,...
Enchanted garden
Last week, I took you on a tour of the fireworks that greet one at every turn in the dramatic Winter Garden at Anglesey Abbey. This week we visit an older Winter Garden, subtle and enchanting, first established in 1979 and forming part of the...
Around 25 years ago, I spent a weekend with the writer Anne de Courcy, the biographer of Diana Mosley and Lord Snowdon – as well as author of other bestselling books – at her cottage in Barnsley, Gloucestershire. I was charmed by her pretty cottage, in...
Our green & pleasant land
Levens Hall, Cumbria (pictured above) Levens Hall in the Lake District has one of the oldest and most extraordinary gardens in the country and is internationally renowned for its collection of topiary. The iconic yew trees are now more than 300 years...
The secret garden
Hidden behind Faversham’s finest medieval street, next to the churchyard of St Mary of Charity, and adjoining the 1587 Grammar School, now a Masonic Hall, is an extraordinary half-acre walled garden, of singular beauty and vitality. As with all the...
Save our native plants
Jo Thompson says she always thought she was the least-ambitious, least-driven person you could imagine, so designing a RHS Chelsea Show Garden is for her the equivalent of running a marathon. Warming to her mixed metaphors, she describes the gestation...
Garden of delights
Three families with school-age children have moved into my London street, just a few houses away on either side. All three have filled their small gardens with bulky trampolines, from which, in the balmy last days of the school holidays, has issued a...
Spring into your garden
March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers is a bit of doggerel familiar to a nation in thrall to the vagaries of its weather. After the long grey months of winter, gardeners have high hopes of spring. We crave warmth and sun, light and...
Let’s get physical!
A secret garden, drenched in both scholarship and tranquillity, the Chelsea Physic Garden, London’s oldest botanic garden, occupies four beautifully tended acres leading down to the River Thames. The garden was founded by the Worshipful Society of...
Hard as stone
Threatened simultaneously with a hosepipe ban and forecasts of frost and snow mid- April, as well as counter-intuitive warnings of hard drought in the summer, the plight of the gardener is not, this year, a happy one. Whichever way you jump, it’s bound...
Keeping your garden green
On the day the hosepipe ban came into force for 20 million people in the southeast and east of England, there was wind and rain over much of the country, and the ‘wrong’ kind of snow in Scotland. The weather is all over the place, but there is one...
Discover a sea of bluebells
East Blickling Estate, Norfolk Visit Blickling in spring and discover one of the best places to see bluebells in the country. Follow the winding paths through the Great Wood and pass through swathes of the dainty blue flowers. Late April to early May...
A taste of Tuscany
When I interviewed Sue Biggs, the director general of the Royal Horticultural Society, some weeks ago, I mentioned that I was planning a visit to RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Essex. Sue said it was her favourite RHS garden and reminded her of Tuscany, where...
The gardens A to Z
Behind a solid door in a stout brick wall, and invisible to passers by, an extraordinary floating garden stretches across seven Thames barges, 100 yards or so down river from Tower Bridge. This secret garden is at Downings Road Moorings, the oldest...
Is this Britain’s greatest garden?
There is a no more privileged way to visit a great garden than in the company of a member of the family who created it and who has known and loved the place since childhood. I had been to Stourhead before, to see the fine Palladian villa designed by...

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