Wednesday, 2 April 2014

The Treasure Houses of England’s Glorious Gardens

As well as boasting a series of fine stately homes, castles and palaces, the Treasure Houses of England are also world-renowned for their magnificent gardens. 

Celebrate the seasons in sublime style by visiting the glorious grounds and gardens at some of the most spectacular sites in the country.

Beaulieu literally means 'beautiful place' and the gardens certainly manifest the name. In spring, the banks of the dry moat surrounding the Montagu family home, Palace House, and the lawns of the adjacent Wilderness Garden are carpeted in colour with a dazzling display of snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils.

With over fifteen species of daffodils in bloom during the flowering season, it presents a stunning seasonal show for all the senses. See the Surrey Sculpture Society’s exhibition of traditional and contemporary artwork on display throughout the grounds (23 May – 20 Aug).

Blenheim Palace
Celebrating the best gardening in the UK in stand-out style, the Blenheim Palace Flower Show (20-22 June) will feature in excess of 150 floral and gardens exhibitors alongside a grand floral marquee with industry judges, ten garden landscapes, and lots more including food, refreshments and family activities.  Featuring everything floral - from award-winning nurseries to gardening celebrities and experts who will be on hand to help you to transform your garden into a tranquil haven - the show is crammed with incredible colour and inspiration.

The Private South Gardens at Burghley boast nineteenth century yew hedges and stunning landscape views of the nearby Lion Bridge and South Front of Burghley. Meanwhile, the South Gardens magnificent displays of narcissi and spring bulbs will be available to visit in aid of the National Gardens Scheme (12 -13 April, 11am to 4pm - last admission 3.30pm) for a truly dazzling day out.

Spruce up autumn by watching local flower societies transform Burghley’s staterooms into fabulous floral displays during Burghley Flower Festival (4-12 October). Take a tour through the grand interiors of this great Elizabethan house where the painted ceilings and seventeenth century art will be inspirationally echoed by breathtaking blooms.

Castle Howard
A stunning array of arrangements will adorn the house with beautiful bursts of colour and fragrance at Castle Howard Flower Festival (15-16 May). Early summer blooms in the Walled Garden and rhododendrons in Ray Wood provide plenty of scope to explore and admire the gorgeous grounds. Find inspiration and practical tips aplenty at the plant fair that will include demonstrations and advice from the resident experts.  And don’t forget to prettify your own garden courtesy of special not-to-be-missed promotions in the Garden Centre.

Having evolved over more than 450 years, the 105-acre Chatsworth garden continues to change today. Roam the exquisite grounds to view permanent sculptures and famous water fountains - including the 300-year-old cascade, trough waterfall and the enormous gravity-fed Emperor fountain. As well as the huge maze, rockery, and rose, cottage and kitchen gardens, there are also over five miles of meandering walks dotted with rare trees, shrubs, streams and ponds.

With over 100 acres of award-winning gardens and walks set within rolling parkland surrounding the House and lakeside, Harewood presents an awe-inspired location.  The West Garden’s floral displays morph from majestic daffodils and snowdrops in springs to a summertime show of rhododendrons and other exotic blooms. Follow the clues around the park’s spring trail and collect different letters to solve a puzzle.

Breathe in the sweet scent of bluebells and daffodils at Hatfield House’s gorgeous woodland garden. During NGS Gardens Open Day For Charity (29 March), visitors can enjoy the spring bulbs in the Lime Walk along with the enchanting Woodland and Sundial Gardens. (Admission charges apply.)

Join the Landscape team for Holkham Hall’s Spring Tours of the Private Gardens (18 May, 11am, 1pm and 3pm), which are normally closed to the public.  See the spectacular arboretum with its many unusual and rare specimen trees, along with the magnolia trees, tulip tree and resplendent rainbow of blooming bluebells.

Leeds Castle
For show-stopping spring colour, take a walk in the Wood Garden at Leeds Castle. In spring, a display of daffodils, narcissi and anemones presents a wonderfully vibrant palette, later replaced in the summer season by a spellbinding scene replete with rhododendrons and azaleas.

Woburn Abbey Gardens will be staging a variety of activities for National Gardening Week (14 - 20 April). This year’s theme of ‘Start Something Beautiful’ will encourage visitors to follow a series of discovery boards installed by the team of gardeners, affording a behind-the-scenes look at forthcoming developments. Other boards will showcase a number of Humphry Repton’s 200-year-old watercolour designs for the gardens, detailing plans for a green oak walkway to be constructed alongside the award-winning rockery pavilion.

Woburn Abbey
A garden tour, included with entry, will take place at 12noon on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of Easter week. The tour will be lead by one of the RHS-qualified gardeners, who will also be available to dispense advice on how to start something beautiful in your own outdoor space this spring.

In addition, Woburn Abbey Garden Show (21 – 22 June) returns for its fifth year and welcomes everyone from green-fingered gardening experts to novices to offer a mass of magnificent tips, ideas and inspiration to make your own garden a stunning success.

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