Visiting arboretums and botanical gardens is always a visual feast. If you can head to a country with tons of gardens, then you are really in for a treat! Hampshire in the UK is known for having numerous well-maintained gardens that will make you wonder how they can maintain them in all their glory. I have always been fond of visiting botanical gardens as a way of supporting conservation efforts but also as a way to renew my mind and body.
There’s just something about visiting and admiring botanical gardens that seem to calm my tired soul. Gardens are a place where I can appreciate the beautiful azaleas and camellias without having to think about my own gardening tasks like deck cleaning or weeding out stubborn and invasive grass growth.
When visiting Hampshire during the open garden season, make sure to check out these gardens:
Located at Bury Court, this contemporary garden came to fruition from the collaboration of owner John Coke and Piet Oudolf, a world-renowned garden designer who pioneered the New Perennial movement. Coke also partnered with Christopher Bradley-Hole, who managed to provide a minimalist approach to the garden with a formal grid design. The Bury Court garden is an events venue but is also open for public visits on plantsman days held every Wednesday of the month from April to September.
This garden is regarded as one of Hampshire’s most beautiful gardens with its romantic meadows, filled with tumbling roses and winding streams. I particularly like the rustic themed garden that features an ornamental courtyard and the Pill Box Garden, a wartime pillbox converted into a cave brimming with plants. There are spiral stairs that will take you up onto a roof garden where you can see stunning views of the whole Dipley Mill grounds and the surrounding countryside. It’s also great that the garden offers a cup of tea and cake to end your tour.
Spanning four acres, Colemore House offers diverse activities for its visitors. They can stroll the arched rose walk, explore herbaceous borders, lie on the well-manicured lawns, and admire the ponds. Plant collectors will definitely love that the garden sells rare and unusual plants.
Famous for its rhododendrons and camellias, Exbury Gardens is one of the UK’s most beautiful woodland gardens. Its azalea collection reminds me of my visit to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. The garden will mark its centennial year this 2019, with numerous special events, including the launch of the secret garden and a flower show. Exbury Gardens was founded by Lionel de Rothschild in 1919.
If you are a big fan of textures and attractive color combinations of perennials and shrubs, then it is a must that you visit Hambledon House, particularly during late summer. Its plant collection will surely amaze you with its different color schemes ranging from soft mauves to dark maroons, and from mesmerizing crimsons to stunning golds. Guests love that the garden has interesting details that reveal themselves only to those with discerning eyes, as most plants stay hidden behind hedges.
The Houghton Lodge served as the home of the Busk family for more than a century. It features a walled garden with trained pear trees, a tunnel of pink Rosa American Pillar, and an orchid house. It also has a topiary garden and an extensive collection of herbs.
If you head to any of these gardens while in Hampshire, let us know of your experience. As for me, this garden tour allowed me to refresh and relax. I even got to do a little soul-searching while there.