Our green-fingered heritage is famous throughout the world...
reen lawns, serene lakes and roses round the door. Ask anyone about England’s gardens and these are the things that immediately spring to mind. Our green-fingered heritage is famous throughout the world, whether it’s the formal works of art by ‘Capability’ Brown and co, or the cosy cottages in villages across the land.
For something truly special head to the royal gardens, where you can follow in the footsteps of Kings and Queens. Each summer Buckingham Palace opens its grand walkways to the public, the air scented by 350 types of wild flower. This is normally off-limits – unless you’re among the fortunate few to get invited to one of the Queen’s famous garden parties.
Check out the enormous 19th-century lake and tennis court – where King George VI once took on Fred Perry in the 1930s. Another must-see is the Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park , recognised as the most famous ornamental garden in England. Ironically, however, you’ll find numerous exotic species from all over the planet thriving among its 35 acres.
A less formal affair
Perhaps you prefer something slightly less formal, though? In that case you’ll love the Bide-A-Wee Cottage Gardens in Northumberland. This former sandstone quarry has been lovingly restored back to nature by Mark Robson, who planted rough grasses, perennials and ferns – creating quiet, secluded alcoves where you can escape the modern world. Bide-A-Wee is open all summer but May is the best time to go if you want to see the meadow in full bloom with yellow buttercups, harebells and fine grasses.
But England’s gardens are about more than just looking good. The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew are an important centre for scientific research and conservation, too. Using temperature-controlled greenhouses, experts have created 10 different climates, housing some of its whopping collection of 30,000 plant species. One minute you’re in a tropical rainforest, surrounded by banana trees, in the Palm House – the next, you’re looking at saxifrage and ferns with chattering teeth in the Davies Alpine House. Even our ‘varied’ weather doesn’t change that quickly…
Admire the magnolias, bluebells and azaleas in spring.Winkworth Arboretum
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