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Visit a garden in August. That's where you can go today!
Where can you go today? Did you know that 2016 is Visit England's Year of the English Garden? August is in full swing and there's a garden open every day of the week. Come rain or shine, there's always something to see. From gardens that swing open their gates as part of the ever popular National Gardens Scheme (NGS), through to charity event openings. Then of course there's the RHS, historic houses and National Trust gardens too. Having a day out has never been such fun! Here's some suggestions for places you can go today, tomorrow and for the rest of the summer!
Garden of England, Kent has at least 180 gardens open to the public. In fact it has been voted Garden Tourism Destination of the Year by the International Garden Tourism Network. And the NGS scheme, and other charity opening events, adds to the selection. It provides a great way to discover gardens that you wouldn't normally get an opportunity to visit. Not only in Kent but all across the country.As the
Where can you go today?
Purchase a copy of the famous NGS Yellow Book or download the FREE Find a Garden App to have the UK gardens literally at your fingertips. Searching for something near you is so simple! For example, if you want to visit one of the great landscapes designed by Capability Brown in his 300th year, just search on the app! It will inform you of the location of gardens with a Capability Brown connection. Landscapes include Bowood Woodland Gardens in Wiltshire; Claremont Landscape Garden in Surrey, Sherborne Castle in Dorset and Chilham Castle in Kent.
There are many small gardens swinging open their garden gates to visitors just a few times per year. The NGS Yellow Book will tell you the location and dates. For example, down in the counties surrounding Perfect Plants there are many from which to choose. Here's a tiny selection: Saturday 20 August is open afternoon at The Blacksmiths Arms in Cudham, Kent. Here you will find an exceptionally pretty summer garden set in the grounds of a 17th century inn. Well- designed pub gardens tend to be an unsung asset. Visitors generally notice the food and drink rather than the setting!
Colwood House in Warninglid, near Haywards Heath, Sussex. It is open by arrangement from now until September for groups of 10 people or more. There are mature and specimen trees from the late 1800s, a formal parterre and a flower rimmed croquet lawn. Even a lake with an island and temple.If it's a gentle stroll around grounds that tempts, visit the 12 acre gardens of
Head down towards Brighton on Sunday 21 August for the group opening of a collection of Burgess Hill gardens which include a mixture of established and small new gardens. They include a wisteria clad house where the owner offers pruning advice. The modern gardens provide useful ideas for those living in new build properties with small gardens and heavy clay soils. Or you might like to form a group in order to visit Brightling Down Farm in Dallington, East Sussex where you will find the winner of the Society of Garden Designers award. This garden paradise makes clever use of grasses and is set amongst woodland with stunning countryside views, a Zen garden, water garden, walled vegetable garden, herbs and herbaceous borders.
There's no end to the fun you can have once you arm yourself with the NGS Yellow Book and see where it takes you! 'Where can I go today?' will be answered in style!
Of course there are historic estates galore in Kent, Sussex, Essex and just about every county in the country. They include Audley End in Essex with its tranquil Capability Brown Gardens. There's Hever Castle with its 125 acres of grounds that were voted the south east's most romantic by Gardener's World. There's 500 acres of parkland at Leeds Castle which includes a yew maze and a water cascade, and 14 acres of delightful gardens nestling at the foot of a deep valley at Ightham Mote, near Sevenoaks. They include a sequence of water features and a unique collection of garden rooms which have evolved with the ideas of each successive owner of the property.
Head down into East Sussex in order to enjoy Merriments gardens, which has recently been voted one of 20 enchanting gardens you must visit by a national newspaper. This garden has now gained RHS Partner Garden status which means that members of the RHS can enter for free on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The delightful grounds have a tropical border, a blue gravel garden, a golden border a formal garden and much more. This garden, situated in Hurst Green, is open every day until mid-October, but it is also opening specifically for Macmillan Cancer Support on Wednesday 21 September. Why visit gardens? People lead busy lives. It's all too easy to forget to stop and take a break. But once you lift your head you will notice a multitude of exciting opportunities.
The question Where can I go today? is very easy to answer! Immersing yourself in other people's worlds can be an enlightening experience. What's more, there's inspiration to be absorbed and if you are a garden-lover you will take a snapshot of ideas from here and there that will enable you to add magic to your own garden.
A good excuse!
Most of us are quite nosey by nature, and what better excuse to exercise the quest for knowledge and ideas than to attend some open gardens? It's very much like a visit to RHS Chelsea Flower Show, without the train journey or the London crowds. What's more, domestic gardens that open their gates to visitors are much more down to earth and cost effective than some of the grander schemes which might be out of most people's league.
If there's just one thing you need to do before the summer ends, visit a garden!