Gardeners keen to shed some of the excesses of the holiday season or stay in shape in 2022 can also get inspiration for planting the year ahead by visiting some of the UK’s finest gardens and parks.
Whether you are interested in winter shrubs, trees, or bulbs, a visit to one of these beautiful places in winter should give you a lot to think about.
1. Audley End House and Gardens, Essex (English- heritage.org.uk)
Highlights of winter to enjoy over the next few months in the beautiful Audley End Gardens, which were among the largest and most opulent in Ransom England, include a breathtaking spectacle of snowdrops and snowdrops. aconites through the lime tree promenade, and a cheerful display of daffodils around the park.
Set in a landscape designed by Capability Brown – who swept the remnants of a declining French-style garden to create expansive views, a serpentine lake, and a more natural plantation – other highlights include the fruit trees in the walled vegetable garden, elegant garden buildings such as Robert Adam’s Bridge over the River Cam and the restored parterre.
2. Mottisfont, Hampshire (nationaltrust.org.uk)
This house and this gallery, located in the middle of gardens by the river, are most beautiful with a pinch of frost. The winter gardens are filled with richly colored dogwood, ornamental silver brambles and flowering shrubs. Look for hellebores and mahonia, fragrant winter honeysuckle, witch hazel, viburnum and daphne. Then follow the river promenade along the crystal clear waters of the River Test and head to the meadows beyond the gardens, from where you can admire beautiful views of the house.
3. Timber Hill Gardens, Chobham, Surrey (ngs.org.uk)
Take the Witch Hazel walk in the woods and smell the winter honeysuckle amid the 16 acres of garden, park and woodland overlooking the North Downs, where you can also see aconites, snowdrops and bands of crocuses . Cyclamen start to appear in January, while by early February Camellia japonicas should be in bloom followed by magnolias and wild cherries. Pre-book for select National Garden Scheme (NGS) Open Houses in January and February. For more views, visit timberhillgarden.com.
4. Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire (nationaltrust.org.uk)
Anyone wishing to relive Robin Hood should visit this fantastic park, its moors and woods hewn from the ancient forests of Sherwood and covering over 3,800 acres. Once the country estate of the Dukes of Newcastle, there are many glimpses of its great past to explore. The hiking routes around the beautiful lake are special in winter, especially on misty mornings when fog surrounds the Gothic Chapel.
5. Walled garden of Chateau Gordon, Moray (gordoncastle.co.uk)
This impressive walled garden won the Historic Houses Garden of the Year award in 2021 and is worth a visit in the winter so you can see the bare bones and structure of the garden before it comes to life in the spring. Anything that grows in the walls has some use, whether it’s lavender for essential oils, fresh vegetables for cooking coffee, or apples for cider.
6. St Timothy, Maidenhead, Berkshire (ngs.org.uk)
This relatively newly created two-acre country garden, voted the winner of the National Garden Scheme competition to find the nation’s favorite garden, was planted and maintained by owner and gardener Sarah Pajwani. Her goal is to keep the garden looking good every season, using tough, hardy plants that are relatively easy to find and manage. On January 13, visitors can participate in a talk and walk event with Pajwani, who will share ideas and information on the key plants that keep his garden in good condition throughout the winter. Pre-reservation essential.
7. Westcroft, nr Salisbury, Wiltshire (ngs.org.uk)
There’s plenty of inspiration for winter blooming in this two-thirds of an acre lot, in a characterful setting of brick and flint walls, rustic arches, and terraces. Highlights include snowdrop drifts, as well as ellebores, pulmonarias, grasses, and seed heads. Open to the public on certain dates in January, February and March. Pre-booking available.
8. Dinner, Carmarthenshire (nationaltrust.org.uk)
Wildlife enthusiasts may spot fallow deer and badgers on a walk through this iconic area, home to Wales’ only National Nature Reserve. There’s a five-kilometer wildlife walk to explore, as well as a medieval castle and 17th-century mansion. While taking in the scenery of Capability Brown, you will see ancient trees, some of which are said to be over 700 years old.
9. Brodsworth Hall and Gardens, South Yorkshire (English- heritage.org.uk)
Winter is the perfect time to stroll through the French garden of this county house, built in the 1860s for the Thellusson family. The garden has clean lines and ample curves, while holly berries add shades of red, yellow and orange to the surrounding greenery.
In the flower garden, the emergence of the spring litter will add a splash of color to your walk, while the evergreen ferns in the valley will also impress, as will the half a million snowdrops and 200,000 aconites of the site, which cast a haze of white and yellow over lawns and wooded floors.
10. Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, Northumberland (English- heritage.org.uk)
A towering fir tree planted in the 1830s is just one of the surprises of Belsay Hall Gardens, along with a Chusan palm, which can be found in the spectacular Quarry Garden. Snowdrops are another highlight because in the early 18th century Lady Anne Middleton started a tradition where the women of the house planted snowdrops together in the park. Now, every February, vast white carpets of plants can be admired in the garden, fields and woods surrounding the room.
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