Botanical gardens in Wales – Mass plantings as you’ve never seen

Collage of images from the gardenI have been to quite a huge range of Botanical gardens, but I must say, I have never seen this huge masses of flowers. We visited in early autumn, and the brightly colored mass plantings really made this day special.

I think people of all ages that visit Botanical gardens do so partly to learn, and this garden is a fine example of a teaching garden.

Our visit
I must advice the order of walking this garden. We made the wrong choice at Circle of Decision and and went from boring landscape into the gardens ending up in a really tense walled garden, and did not enjoy it as much as we could have.

I would therefor recommend doing the walled garden first. It is really crammed with plants, and being tired you will not have the energy to appreciate it.

My absolute favorite part of this garden is the narrow paths running along side the walls from The Circle of Decision, and up to the mirror pool. It was filled with masses of seasonal perrennials. I am not into annuals at all, they are to flashy for me, so seeing this planting really gave inspiration!

At the top of this lovely path is the iconic glasshouse. One big dome filled with exotic plants and a lovely cafe. The rain suddenly visited along us, and it was a real treat having lunch in there. 🙂

The last few years it has been a hobby of mine to research plant history, and I therefor was really surprised and intrigued finding a walled garden dedicated to the work of Alfred Russel Wallace. If it had not been for him, Darwin would never had the guts to publish his work the Origin of Species by Natural Selection which did change everything! This walled garden really shows what genetics have helped us achieve. Mutation, Hybridization and selective breeding – the understanding of the evolution of plants. If you find all this a bit dull and dry, then fear not, this garden is a feast for the eye as well. Loads of sweet peas and Dahlias will make you fumble with your camera wanting to catch it all and bring home.

There are lovely views to the countryside on all sides of this property, but I must say I wished they used more of the landscape around for more secluded paths with trees, rhododendrons and Viburnums. At the moment the tarmac roads surrounded by nothing in particular other than some art here and there, is not enough for me.

Due to all other parts of this garden, I will surely go back!

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Be sure to check out the bee garden and observe and learn a bit about this lovely little helping friend.

Getting there:
The garden is open all year (not christmas day) and the admission fee is £8.50
Satnav: SA32 8HN
You can get to this garden with Bus 166 from Carmarthen Train Station.

A plant nerd like me would probably need a good 5 hours to enjoy this garden, but you could also spend 2-3 good hours just being outdoors  🙂

The plant and gift shop is not overhwelming which is a pitty, I had money to spend, but did not :/

For all other info, check out their informative website

The rill

A bamboo covered sear

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Stourhead – The best and biggest landscape garden

Stourhead views

Stourhead views

I was actually visiting another lovely National Trust Garden in Somerset this day. On my way out, I asked if the staff knew of a circular walk in the area. They all looked at each other, big smile, and then they all agreed. “You have to go to Stourhead”.

Well Stourhead was nothing like I expected, and certainly no ordinary public footpath 🙂 It was no garden either. But it was definitely the best walk I have ever had.

Why visit:
Arriving at this garden there is a lovely tea room, a gift shop and a plant shop. I showed my National Trust card and entered the property. I was quite happy to see that dogs are allowed in the afternoons.
After walking just a few minutes I arrived at a walled garden filled with veg and flowers. Greenhouses, cold frames and loads of fruit trees. It was nice, but did not give any hint on what was in store.
After the walled garden you arrive on the main road to the manor house which is huge. It`s not a cozy romantic kind of manor, this is the huge, powerful almost a bit threatening type of building.
I am not very interested in houses as of now, so I just followed the signs for the landscape garden.

Through an open gate and arriving at small opening in the forest, I could suddenly see a temple in the distance. At that moment I understood where I was. I had admired this garden featured on Gardeners World on BBC, and could not believe my luck! I also googled this garden after watching the romantic movie ‘Pride & Prejudice’ where Darcy proposes to Lizzy in the pouring rain outside the Temple of Apollo.

The next 4 hours in this 1072 hectare huge garden, I ran around with my camera trying to capture all the lovely sights.
The sky opened more than once followed by sun, making everything shiny and sparkly with raindrops.
There is a leaflet available listing all the trees and bushes in the garden as everything is numbered.

You really must visit this garden, and when you do, please make sure to spend a few minutes on each bench as they are perfectly placed to give you a wonderful view, promise!!!

History:
The garden was designed by Henry Hoare II (who build and owned the manor in the early 1700s), and was designed to show different views, as a series landscape paintings. A true piece of living art. The huge lake is the center, and around it he added bridges, grottoes, temples and filled it with exotic and rare plants.
National trust took over this property in 1940s, and have kept it really perfect ever since. I think Henry Hoare II would be proud!

Stourhead view against the PantheonStourhead view against the Pantheon
Image of old gate

Loads of old gates, this one takes of from the main path, I wonder where it leads?

How to get there:
Wasminister BA126QD
The garden is situated in Wiltshire. There are no buses or trains near by, so a car is the best option.

Where to stay:
I actually found a perfect B&B / Inn only 40 mins car ride away from Stourhead and very close to about 5 other National Trust gardens.
It is called The fat Pigeon and actually has a really lovely garden it self. 🙂
Not expensive, not the best service, but such a grand estate to stay in!

Marle Place Gardens and Gallery – A masterclass in focal points

Marle Place

Why visit:
This is a private garden, and it has that privat secret feel about it. The small secluded garden rooms parted by long elegant views edged with tightly clippet tall hedges, keeps the intrest and wow-factor until you reach back to your car.

In the far end of this garden, there is a beatiful pond surrounded by peaceful woodland and a bog garden.

Through a big red door you enter the walled kitchengarden. And it is really inspirational, even in april. Filled with tulips waiting for the veg to move in. It also contains fruit cages with happy canary birds living in them, closely observed by the cats outside 🙂

The whole garden is dotted by art. Sculptures in many different forms, always set out as a focal-point that draws you twoards them. If you need innspiration to focal points in your garden, this is the garden to visit.
How ever, you could argue that there are too many of them. At the entrance we were given a map, and we tried for quite some time to follow it, but all the focal points drew us off our course, and away from each other. This garden really shows the strength and weekness you can achieve with focal points.

One of the most exiting things I saw was a big rose bush, tied down to a big circular iron plant support (around the plant). It was then pruned to exactly match the ring. It was not in bloom when I was there, but I bet it is truly magical full of roses.
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Above the Kitchen garden are two lovely greenhouses and a potting shed.
In the shed we bought antique vases and and other gifts. By the entrance is a small plantshop and a DIY tearoom. We also bought some blue and green eggs. 🙂

This is a private garden, first created in 1890. It has some good old conifer trees that gives this modern garden some umpf and maturity.

I recomend this garden, especially if you are intrested in art or just a special garden. Something different. This is also a good garden for autumn and winter.

You can also visit:
This garden is close to The Great Dixter, and you can do both gardens in a day. However I would not recommend to do Sissinghurst also this same day as they all 3 are huge and to much to take in, in one day.

Where to stay:
We stayed at the lovely Bed & breakfast “Chruch gates” in the nearby village of Cranbrook. The owners are a gardener and an artist, and they also offer guided garden visits.

How to get here:
This garden is not available with public transport. You need a car!
It is situated in Kent TN12 7HS
See the webpage for full address

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Glasgow Botanical gardens – with the beautiful glass palace!

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On a rainy late autumn day I spend 3 hours in this lovely garden. Due to the weather I spent more time in the temperate houses then I usually would, and what a treat!
The Botanical gardens in Glasgow are the diamond in the charming area of the West end.

Why visit:
The first thing you see once inside the old beautiful iron gates are the beautiful old glasshouses. The Kibble Palace must be the worlds most beautiful glasshouse with its round feminin forms, yet big and powerfull design.

The areas in the garden that impressed me the most was a vast grass border and the area with bush roses.
The grass borders really seemed alive, full of movement and sound making me want to interact with it, touch it.

There was very few roses in bloom when I was there, but the rose borders still was a huge hit. I have never seen so many different hips. They where long and black, pink and round, some hairy, some yellow and every shape and size you can imagine. And from seeing all the hips, I can promise you that this part of the garden must be spectacular in spring and early summer when all the roses are in bloom!

Walking down to the landscape garden – the arboretum, towards and along the river Kelvin is a really lovely walk. The trees give protection against weather and prying eyes. It seems that bringing a picnic bag from Waitrose and spending the afternoon here, is a popular activity amongst the locals.

The beatiful arboretum with loads of beautiful trees was where I spent most of my time. The garden recently got awarded money to collect and preserve for the National collection of Trees in Scotland. This will probably secure this part of the garden and make the arboretum even more exiting to visit in the years to come.

Kids will love this garden, different play areas are available and also different interaction learning about nature.

A tearoom serve tea, coffee, lunch and sweets.
I did not see the usual gift shop, and I missed it. I would love to buy some seeds and postcards.
As a tourist – visitor, you need to bring something home! 😉

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The gardens history
The property was bought in 1839 founded by the local botanist William Thomas Hooker, and the garden was opened to the public in 1842. Kibble Palace was opened in its current position in 1873 lit by 600 gas lamps. That must have been so spectacular.

You can also visit:
* If you need to warm after the visit you might try the Oran Mor Whiskey bar across the road. Its a beatiful old church converted to a bar!

* If you fancy another Botanical garden then drive the short drive over to Edinburgh. The botanical gardens in Edinburgh seem a bit bigger and maybe a bit more modern, I really love them both!

Getting there:
The gardens is a short walk from the Hill head Underground stop.

If you are visiting Scotland or Glasgow, I highly recommend a visit to this garden, even on a rainy day.