British gardeners are truly one of a kind. They’re ambitious, they’re innovative and they love what they do. The UK has some of the most beautiful gardens in the world, precisely because British gardeners are so wonderfully talented. A visit to an authentic English garden is a highlight of any tourist trip to Britain and we ought to follow suit. It’s time to celebrate our heritage and our extraordinary panache with plants.
Interest in horticulture crosses all ages and social boundaries, says About.com journalist Fern Arfin. In Britain, garden traditions are wildly varied and influenced by factors as diverse and unique as botanist exploration, botanical collection, landscape art and the horticulturists of the 18th and 19th centuries. There are so many beautiful gardens dotted about the length and breadth of our fair isle – why not open your botanical mind and pay a visit to some of the most impressive? Here’s a guide to the most beautiful gardens in Britain.
Lost Gardens Of Heligan, Cornwall
Sissinghurst Castle Garden
This site is very often considered to be Britain’s most romantic country garden. It was created in the 1930’s by writer Vita Sackville-West and it is divided into intimate garden ‘rooms’ that each have their own colour scheme and design. Sissinghurst Castle Garden is the most visited garden in the UK and there’s a very good reason for this. Rare plants rub up against traditional English flowers and blooms. Hidden spaces and secret passages open up before you if you only take the time to look. This garden is a peon to British romanticism. In fact, it’s more than a garden – it’s very much a work of art.
Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckingham
This site has provided inspiration to writers, artists and philosophers ever since its creation in the 1700’s. If you have any appreciation for beautiful things, you’ll be glad that it’s still open and providing inspiration today. There’s a definite sense of majesty throughout these gardens – they were created and maintained by a family who were wealthier than the current king, so it makes sense that there’s so much luxury on offer here. One of the most impressive things about these gardens are the magnificent stone temples dotted throughout.
Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Garden
According to GardenVisit.com, this breathtakingly beautiful garden was the unique vision of 18th century politician John Aislabie and his son William. Gothic temples and Roman style figurines are common here, they line the woods and specially designed ponds. They stand in a very noble and ancient fashion waiting to welcome intrepid explorers. There’s much to discover here – wooded valleys, ponds, waterfalls, rock pools and curvilinear gardens. Be warned though, you’re guaranteed to lose your whole afternoon amongst the beauty and the ruins of Fountain’s Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden.
Della is a keen horticulturist and an expert on tropical flowers. She recommends Flora Select for top quality gardening equipment, products and advice. Jane can usually be found planting new bulbs in her garden or blogging about plants on her website.