10 beautiful Hampshire gardens to visit this year
PUBLISHED: 15:23 20 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:35 20 August 2018
©National Trust/Marianne Majerus
Looking for some peace and tranquility this summer? Lose yourself in one of these wonderful gardens
For rose lovers
Mottisfont, near Romsey, is world-famous for its National Collection of old-fashioned roses, and although peak rose season is in June, you’ll find varieties of deeply scented roses that continue to flower in July and August. Many of them are available for sale, so that everyone who visits Mottisfont has the chance to take away a little of its scented magic. The stars of the show in high summer are the walled garden’s richly planted herbaceous borders, which provide changing displays until mid-autumn. Chosen for their structure, scent and wide colour palette, these borders are the result of an ambitious two-year project to restore them back to the original design of horticulturalist Graham Stuart Thomas, who created them in 1972.
Open daily 10am-5pm, Admission: £14.30, or free for NT members, nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont
For those in the know
Tylney Hall Gardens is a hidden gem found in rural Rotherwick, near Hook. This RHS Partner garden is open to RHS members all year round, along with anyone staying or dining at the hotel. Three times a year the garden also welcomes the public, as part of the National Garden Scheme (NGS) Open Day. Stroll around the 66-acre estate, which has been painstakingly restored to its former glory by Estate Manager, Paul Tattersdill and his dedicated team. Highlights include: the beautiful boathouse lake; the intricate Italian Gardens; the longest uninterrupted view in Hampshire from the vista, complete with its own air raid shelter; and the serene Water Gardens – designed by gardening royalty, Gertrude Jekyll.
Next NGS open day is October 7 2018, Admission: £5 or free for RHS members, tylneyhall.co.uk
For a water garden wander
This beautiful, secluded, seven-acre Water Garden, part of the Leckford Estate, was judged the finest water garden in the world by the International Water Lily Society. Created by the Beddington family in the 1930s, Longstock Water Garden was further developed by John Spedan Lewis who bought the estate in 1946 and transformed it into a tranquil place to relax and reflect. The gin-clear water from the River Test flows through it, connecting the two islands and woodland valleys, Longstock and Leckford together. As summer unravels, the water garden comes to life with colourful and vibrant plants – including over 40 different waterlilies; the giant-sized gunnera and jewel-like primulas – which are all planted at the water’s edge to take full advantage of the reflection. This attracts an abundance of wildlife including: herons, moorhens, kingfishers and butterflies.
The garden is open to the public, for the benefit of various different charities every year, on selected Sunday afternoons in April to September, 1 pm-4 pm only, Admission: £6, leckfordestate.co.uk/water-garden
For lavendar lovers
One sure sign of a British summer is an endless sea of purple lavender, and Long Barn Farm in Alresford have one of the largest selections in the country. A wonderful place to wander and feel inspired or, perhaps, you’d prefer to sip an English tea on the terrace and gaze towards the river, with views over 500 lavender plants.
Open 9am-5pm Monday to Saturday and 10am-4pm Sunday and Bank Holidays, longbarn.co.uk
For dahlia collectors
Hinton Ampner near Alresford bursts with floral scent and colour in summer with hundreds of exotic-looking dahlias, in shades varying from rich tangerines and fiery reds, to deep pinks, yellows and creamy whites. They create dramatic impact throughout the gardens, from the bright yellow of ‘Moon Fire’ and the vivid orange of ‘Murdoch’ in the cool leafy Dell, to the tight pom-poms of ‘White Nettie’ in the Autumn border, and the deep pink petals of ‘Fascination’ in the Sunken Garden.
Discover the very best summer colour every Tuesday on a free guided walk around the garden from 2.15 – 3.15pm, Admission: £10 for garden only or free for NT members. Open daily from 10am-5pm, nationaltrust.org.uk/hinton-ampner
For rare finds
Renowned for its unrivalled, world-famous, Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, rare trees and shrubs, Exbury Gardens in the New Forest continues to bring joy right throughout the summer months. The 200-acre woodland garden has many beautiful spots, such as the secluded Sundial Garden, close to the top of the Daffodil Meadow. Open the gate and you’ll be greeted with a kaleidoscope of colour with bright salvias, dahlias, verbena and other sun-loving perennials. Close to the house itself, you can admire the herbaceous borders; or wonder at the blue and white Hydrangea Walk – a pathway leading to the Jurassic boardwalk – a swampy area of ancient plants, frogs and dragonflies! The New Forest Tour & Beach Bus stops at Exbury throughout the summer holiday and children will love the adventure play area and a ride on the 12 ¼ inch gauge Steam Railway!
Open daily 10am-5.30pm, Admission: starts at £10.35 for gardens only, exbury.co.uk
For wide variety
Established by the distinguished plantsman, Sir Harold Hillier, in 1953, the magnificent 180-acre Hillier Gardens near Romsey is now home to 14 National Collections, over 400 Champion Trees and 42,000 plants from temperate regions! In the summer you can marvel at one of the longest double borders in the UK - measuring 250m long, the Centenary Border is a striking array of Red Hot Pokers, Echinacea and Crocosmia. As the seasons change, you can admire the bronze and gold tones of the Champion Trees adorned with sun-ripened fruits. And it’s worth noting that it is also home to one of the largest Winter Gardens in Europe – at just over four acres – filled with plants known for their bold-coloured bark and incredible scents.
Open 10am-6pm, Admission: £10.90, hants.gov.uk/thingstodo/hilliergardens
For gold medal displays
The informal woodland Furzey Gardens in the heart of the New Forest is a social enterprise that supports people with learning disabilities. The garden made the news in 2012, when Patron, Chris Beardshaw, designed a garden for The Chelsea Flower Show, involving staff, students and volunteers to show that people with learning disabilities, can achieve great things with the right support and ambition. The Garden went on to win an RHS Gold Medal and an interpretation can now be found replanted at Furzey Gardens. Come the summer months, visitors can also admire the large herbaceous plantings around the cottage garden and many other borders which carry the colour and scent on through the season, as well as a range of summer flowering shrubs. Entrance to the gardens is by donation and all funds go to supporting the charity’s work.
Open daily between 10am-4pm, Suggested donation: £8, www.minsteadtrust.org.uk
For a calm retreat
A hidden sanctuary in the heart of Petersfield High Street – the Physic Garden is a 17th Century-style garden, offering locals a retreat from reality. The geometric and formal patterns offer a sense of calm for a busy mind. The Physic Gardens owe their name to the medicinal plants that grow there – such as: Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris) - which according to 16th-century herbalist John Gerard ‘there is not a better wounde herbe in the world’.
Take in the topiary walk, a knot garden and an informal orchard with wild flowers. The rose arch comes into its own during the summer, whilst the borders are planted with shrubs, roses and herbaceous plants that would have been familiar with plants introduced from the New World in the 17th Century.
Although the garden is private, it is open to the public for free, petersfieldphysicgarden.org.uk
For seasonal showstoppers
In a beautiful corner of North Hampshire, you can explore a distinctive garden created over two decades by acclaimed Australian gardener, Marylyn Abbott. The magical gardens of West Green House surround the pretty manor house, combining neo-classical style with contemporary design. Each season brings a different beauty at West Green House – from the astounding 10,000 tulips in spring; to the roses and elaborate potager with berry-filled fruit cages, annual flowers and colourful vegetables. Marvel at the fountain gardens and contemporary Garden of the Five Bridges, with its serpentine ribbon of iris sibirica crossed by chinoiserie-inspired bridges.
Open Wednesday to Sunday, 11am-4.30pm, Admission: £8 or free for NT members, westgreenhouse.co.uk