Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Visiting English gardens

Leaving home for a couple of weeks, especially at such a nice time of the year in our garden, comes with a few mixed feelings. Everything is green and lush – before summer’s heat starts to crisp things around the edges.

The vegetable plants and tomatillo and eggplant seedlings are doing well, young potatoes are forming (I harvested a few early ones), and the squash plants are looking good.

But it’s also a wonderful time to visit English gardens in their late spring stages; my only previous trip (during the growing season) was in September, also a wonderful time, but a different flowering palette. I’m planning to visit Great Dixter and Sissinghurst again, but am also looking forward to visiting RHS Wisley, West Dean, Beth Chatto’s garden, Nymans, Mrs. Mitchell’s Kitchen and Gardens, Munstead Wood, Downderry Nursery, Iden Croft Herbs, and Chelsea Physic Garden, in addition to as many on the National Gardens scheme that are open while I’m there.

So my sense of anticipation has been building as I finished my last work responsibilities and had time to start planning the details of my garden-visiting schedule (I’m DEFINITELY still working on that – there's been plenty of time in airports and on planes – and I'll being doing lots of planning while traveling). I listened to a podcast from BBC Gardens Illustrated driving to the Atlanta airport, just downloaded yesterday; it was a fascinating program about making a garden, a joint lecture by Fergus Garrett (Christopher Lloyd’s head gardener at Great Dixter) and Sir Roy Strong, sponsored by the Museum of Garden History in London.


  1. What an amazing trip you have planned - it will leave all other garden tours in the dust!

  2. Cornwall is a long way from most the places you plan to visit, but if you get chance, visit The Lost Gardens of Heligan. Fascinating reclamation of a working garden that fed 'The Big House'. It died when the men went to fight in the Great War (1914 to 1918).


  3. Rob,
    Thanks for the suggestion. I happily was lucky enough to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan on my previous visit (on a pre-conference tour for garden educators) and it WAS a really fascinating garden. I'd love to spend some time just visiting gardens in Cornwall and Eastern England. Your country is small, but there are SO many gardens to visit.


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