If you have clients who are looking for a customised UK tour or you’re thinking of making a pitch to a group of Master Gardeners, your local garden club, rose or herb society, this week’s collection of privately owned gardens will knock their socks off!
To set your ideas apart from the rest, use as a starting point my 4 word mantra of TRAVEL LESS, SEE MORE and to make these and other horticultural masterpieces work, here are some other tips for you to consider.
- Use a location in the English countryside for the first 4-5 nights. Don’t base them in London as they’ll spend 3-4 hours each day travelling from and back to their hotel.
- From their rural base, enrich their trip with value added visits to the chosen stately homes.
- Chose 1 or 2 where the treasures within are as fabulous as the gardens outside.
- Take my advice on a couple of 16th century inns for pub lunches or somewhere that delivers a very good traditional English Afternoon Tea.
- Work in an afternoon visit to one of our historic cathedrals and stay on for Choral Evensong.
- Time the visit to avoid the crowds at Chelsea and take a look at the alternatives listed below.
Given your work load, use my knowledge, experience and connections to achieve your objective. A problem shared is a problem halved.
Jumping off the screen today is a September 6 nighter, which brings together the Illumination Festival of Flowers in the great Norman cathedral of Winchester, a full day at the Royal Horticultural Society’s flagship at Wisley and the blaze of colour displayed by thousands of dahlias at Pashley Manor’s Dahlia Days event. Email me for details.
A Quintessentially English Garden
Sweeping herbaceous borders, elegant rose and historic walled gardens, artistic plantings framed by fine old trees, sculpture, fountains, ponds and enchanting woodland walks– welcome to the award-winning garden at Pashley Manor. At their best between April and September, fine tune your visit to coincide with their Tulip Festival (24th April-8th May) or their Special Rose Week (8th-16th June). Ablaze with colour during their Dahlia Days Festival (5th-15th September) a visit to Pashley Manor partners nicely with the RHS Wisley Flower Show and the Winchester Cathedral Flower Festival.
The Illumination Festival of Flowers
The Winchester Cathedral Flower Festival takes place between 5th – 9th September with an exuberant array of flower arrangements inspired by the 12th century Winchester Bible, which you’ll also be able to see while you’re there. This great Norman building will be transformed by striking and floral displays evoking the Bible’s exquisitely illuminated initials and decorative schemes. Add a day at the RHS Garden Show at Wisley 4th – 9th September for an outstanding late summer stately homes and cathedrals tour.
Celebrating ‘Capability’ Brown
Last year, we celebrated the 300th anniversary of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, arguably the finest English landscape gardener and Bowood House is regarded as one of the best preserved of his work. After a private tour of the beautiful Georgian house, slip through a secret door and discover Lord and Lady Lansdowne’s private 4 acre Walled Garden. From late April to early June, the 30-acre Woodland Gardens are at their peak for colour and fragrance.
Beauty, Inspiration and Discovery
The 180-acre, multi award-winning Sir Harold Hillier Gardens is home to one of the world’s most important plant collections, growing in a variety of superb, themed landscapes. Home to 14 National Plant collections and over 400 Champion Trees, you’ll also discover one of the most impressive and longest double edge borders in Europe. In addition to being a notable addition to a customised garden tour, being just 30 minutes from Southampton, it’s a great place for a first or final visit before or after a cruise.
A Horticulturalists Place of Pilgrimage
The family home of gardener and gardening writer Christopher Lloyd, Great Dixter was the focus of his energy and enthusiasm and fuelled over 40 years of books and articles. Now under the stewardship of Fergus Garrett and the Great Dixter Charitable Trust, the historic house, restored and enhanced by Sir Edwin Lutyens is the largest surviving timber-framed hall in the country. It is also home to the famous Long Border and the Exotic Garden and one not to be missed in the south east of England.
18th Century Elegance
Painshill Park is a beautiful award-winning 18th century landscape garden. Set within 158 acres, it astonishes you with a sequence of breath taking views that were inspired by Renaissance art and created between 1738 and 1773 by the Hon. Charles Hamilton as a Living Work of Art. A private tour will give you access to the amazing Crystal Grotto, the romantic Ruined Abbey and the Gothic Temple. Alternatively, their Head Gardener will take you through the ‘Hamilton Landscapes’ and reveal more about the extensive historic plantings.
Paull Tickner, owner of U.K.-based Custom GB, is known for his expertise in creating and operating imaginative, value-added tours of Great Britain and Ireland. Visit his website at www.customgb.co.uk and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.