The 10 best gardens to visit this summer

leckford estate gardens-


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “The 10 best gardens to visit this summer” was written by Alys Fowler, Sarah Raven, Charlie Dimmock, Tom Stuart-Smith, Andy Sturgeon, Fergus Garrett, Joe Swift, Troy Scott Smith, James Priest, Jane Perrone, for The Guardian on Saturday 6th August 2016 10.00 UTC

Rousham, Oxfordshire

A romantic landscape garden often described as England’s most influential garden, designed by 18th century landscape architect William Kent.
Picked by Garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith.
Tom says “I visit Rousham every year, and have done since I was 21. It is a place of infinite calm and subtlety. For the last two years, I have swum down the river Cherwell through the garden, but have yet to see it by moonlight. Something to look forward to.”
Look out for The walled garden with its box-edged parterre and dovecote.
Visit Open every day from 10am. Last admission 4.30pm, gardens close at dusk. Children under 15 not admitted, unless by arrangement.

The gravel garden at Beth Chatto’s garden at Elmstead in Essex.
The gravel garden at Beth Chatto’s garden at Elmstead in Essex. Photograph: Alamy

The Beth Chatto Gardens, Essex

Gardens established by renowned plantswoman, a masterclass in how to deal ith tricky growing conditions, both dry and wet.
Picked by Fergus Garrett, head gardener at Great Dixter.
Fergus says “It is difficult to describe just how much Beth Chatto – through her lectures, exhibits at Chelsea, her writing and her garden – has achieved in inspiring a new generation of gardeners. Her garden continues to strongly represent her thoughts and her style, even though Beth is now in her 90s.”
Look out for Also visit the highly-regarded nursery next door.
Visit Mon-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 10am-5pm, until October.

The Swiss Cottage at the Swiss Garden in Bedfordshire.
The Swiss Cottage at the Swiss Garden in Bedfordshire. Photograph: Photograph by Brian Harris

Swiss Garden, Bedfordshire

A Regency-era landscape garden with an alpine theme, recently restored with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Picked by Guardian gardening editor Jane Perrone.
Jane says “There is something magical and absurd about this garden. It reminds me that gardens are meant to be fun: I love the tiny, two-storey Swiss cottage with its intricate interior made from split pine cones.”
Look out for The beautiful glass-roofed fernery and adjoining grotto.
Visit 9.30am-5pm until the end of October.

The Courts Garden, Wiltshire
The Courts Garden, Wiltshire. Photograph: Alamy

The Courts Garden, Wiltshire

A great example of an arts and crafts English formal garden, set in seven acres around an 18th century house.

Picked by Troy Scott Smith, head gardener at Sissinghurst Castle Garden.
Troy says “The Courts is designed as a series of rooms. Some are generous, self-contained set pieces; others play a supporting role, often employing colourful ephemera to create movement and add an erotic charge.”
Look out for Amazing topiary work and cloud-pruned hedging.
Visit Thurs-Tues, 11am-5.30pm, until 30 October.

Packwood House, Warwickshire.
A wrought iron garden bench in the garden at Packwood House in Warwickshire. Photograph: Alamy

Packwood House, Warwickshire

National Trust garden of a Tudor manor house, with a famous yew garden and lush herbaceous borders.
Picked by Guardian Weekend gardening columnist Alys Fowler.
Alys says “Packwood is at the top of its game for historic gardens. The head gardener, Mick Evans, makes some of the best borders I know of. There are lovely lawn games, bee boles, a stylish cafe and great, great topiary. And I like the veg garden.”
Look out for Artist Hilary Jack’s series of installations that act as a reimagination of the garden folly, including a giant four-poster bed.
Visit Daily during school holidays, 11-5pm.

A tapestry hedge at the Gibberd Garden, Essex.
A tapestry hedge at the Gibberd Garden, Essex. Photograph: Alamy

The Gibberd Garden, Essex

A seven acre garden dotted with sculptures, created by modernist town planner and landscape designer Sir Frederick Gibberd.
Picked by TV presenter and garden writer Joe Swift.
Joe says “I’ve visited the Gibberd Garden many times and every time it makes me feel like a kid. Much of its planting is green, which sets a tranquil scene. It is cleverly laid out: divided up into rooms, most of them home to interesting pieces of sculpture that increase the sense of exploration and discovery as you move through.”
Look out for Children large and small will love the moated castle.
Visit Weds, Sat, Sun 2-6pm, until 26 September.

Parham Walled Garden in West Sussex.
Parham Walled Garden in West Sussex. Photograph: Alamy

Parham Walled Garden, West Sussex

Ancient walled garden sheltered by the South Downs featuring herbaceous borders, a glasshouse, vegetable garden and orchard.
Picked by Gardener and writer Sarah Raven.
Sarah says “I love the walled garden, with one of the best ornamental greenhouses in the country and always interesting trials of edible and cut flower families – sunflowers, sweet peas, alliums or tulips.”
Look out for The charming 1920s wendy house set into the walls.
Visit Wednesday-Friday, Sunday and bank holiday until the end of September, 12-5pm.

Longstock Water Gardens, Hampshire.
Longstock Water Gardens, Hampshire. Photograph: Ron Sutherland/Getty Images

Longstock Water Gardens, Hampshire

Seven acres of garden, including two and a half acres of lakes fed by the river Test. Part of the Waitrose-owned Leckford Estate.
Picked by Charlie Dimmock, presenter of BBC1 show Garden Rescue.
Charlie says “When I was an apprentice gardener, I used to work at Mill Water garden centre. and Longstock’s head gardener, Jim Saunders, came to visit once a week. He helped construct the water gardens at Longstock and used to take me there. He was so enthusiastic about ponds, bog plants, and the gardens are very romantic and inspirational.”
Look out for More than 40 varieties of water lilies; and try to spot kingfishers on the water’s edge.
Visit The first and third Sunday of the month, 2-5pm, April-September.

Bury Court garden in Surrey.
Bury Court garden in Surrey. Photograph: Juliette Wade/Getty Images

Bury Court, Surrey

A contemporary courtyard garden designed by Piet Oudolf, specialising in grasses and hardy perennials.
Picked by Garden designer Andy Sturgeon.
Andy says “Since planting the gardens at Bury Court with its owner John Coke, Piet Oudolf has gone on to far bigger projects, but because this quirky garden is not particularly big, it has a relevance to ordinary gardens. The planting combinations are mesmerising.”
Look out for Masterful use of modern-styled topiary, including a circle of iron trellis covered with tightly clipped silver weeping pear (Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’). The minimalist front garden, designed by Christopher Bradley-Hole, is also worth a view.
Visit Open the last Wednesday of every month, 11am-3.30pm, until the end of September.

Astilbe and hydrangeas in the woodland gardens at Bodnant Garden, Conwy.
Astilbe and hydrangeas in the woodland gardens at Bodnant Garden, Conwy. Photograph: Alamy

Bodnant Garden, Conwy

An 80-acre National Trust hillside garden with views across the valley towards Snowdonia.
Picked by James Priest, head gardener at Monet’s gardens in Giverny.
James says “Bodnant is a fine piece of landscape garden history from a time when wealthy families would build beautiful houses and gardens. There are formal gardens and water gardens close to the house, then you go out into the natural, informal gardens with rhododendrons and mature trees. It encompasses everything English garden design is about, without being kitsch.”
Look out for The famous laburnum arch looks fabulous in May and June; right now, the blue hydrangeas wreathed through the Dell garden are glorious.
Visit Every day, 10-5pm.

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