2016 was the 300th anniversary of the birth of the great landscape designer, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (known thus, so they say, because of his habit of saying to garden owners/potential clients  “yes, this garden definitely has capability”!) Whilst the current layout of the garden primarily dates back to the 19th century, Brown was responsible for… Read More

A beautiful stroll in late September through the Jardin des Plantes when visiting Montpellier. Created in 1593 by order of Henri IV, the Jardin des Plantes is the oldest botanical garden in France – the Jardin des Plantes in Paris was not made until 1626.  Pierre Richer de Belleval, a professor of botany and anatomy… Read More

Barrington Court, an imposing Tudor country house in Somerset, was completed during the reign of Henry VIII and is owned by the National Trust who acquired the empty ruin in 1907 – their first large, country-house acquisition – and one which was going to require enormous investment, which the Trust did not have.  However, they… Read More

Hestercombe, near Cheddon Fitzpaine in Somerset is a magical juxtaposition of different garden styles with the Georgian Landscape gardens rolling down a wooded valley dotted with temples and follies and a fabulous Edwardian garden – the masterpiece of Sir Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll.   The estate was continuously owned by the Warre family from… Read More

I had a wonderful opportunity to stay at Holland House in the village of Cropthorne, Worcestershire this summer.  The timber-framed house, which is part-thatched, dates back to the 16th century and is set in 4 acres of gardens which lead down to the River Avon.  The gardens were mostly laid out in the early part… Read More

An Arts and Crafts garden created at the beginning of the 20th century by Lawrence Johnston, an American from a wealthy family who had studied at Cambridge and became a British citizen in 1900.  His mother purchased the Hidcote estate in 1907 and Johnston embarked upon a project to transform the fields surrounding the house… Read More

Hidden away beyond ancient walls of stone and mellow red brick, lie the century-old gardens of The Salutation manor house in the heart of old Sandwich in Kent.  Known as the ‘Secret Gardens’, they were designed by the Edwardian architect Sir Edwin Lutyens working in partnership with the plantswoman Gertrude Jekyll. Having been restored in… Read More

A visit between showers on June 25th when a great many of the flowers, about to burst forth, had rain damage.  However…. it was still fantastic and here’s a list of those roses which were looking particularly good: The Alba rose ‘Queen of Denmark’ Bourbon rose ‘Variegata Di Bologna’ (repeat blooming – splashes of dark… Read More

On September 27th, en route for Taunton I visited the famous cottage gardens created 75 years ago at East Lambrook by the late plantswoman, Margery Fish.  A career in newspapers on Fleet Street led to marriage with the editor of the Daily Mail, Walter Fish, in 1933.  They moved to Somerset in 1937 to begin… Read More

To Pembury House, Clayton, West Sussex on March 8th for the final day of a month-long NGS opening.  This day was to celebrate the glorious collection of snowdrops and Hellebores.  Owners Jane and Nick Baker have over 50 named varieties of snowdrops together with naturalised drifts of common snowdrops and many different hellebores in the… Read More