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Meet our Best 100 Gardens nominees! We’ve asked a few of our nominated gardens to tell us their favourite spots in their garden and what you can expect to see if you visit this season. See what they had to say, they might even get your vote…

 

MEET FAIRHAVEN WOODLAND AND WATER GARDEN IN THE MIDLANDS

When and how did the garden first begin?

The woodland garden was created by the 2nd Lord Fairhaven between 1947 and his death in 1973. A charitable trust was then set up to open the garden  to the public and continue Lord Fairhaven's work. Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden has been open to the public since April 1975.

What’s the one-spot visitors shouldn’t miss?

The King Oak - a sapling at the time of the Battle of Hastings and one of the oldest trees in Norfolk. 

What can visitors expect to see this season?

Candelabra Primulas from mid May to to early June, rhododendrons in June, hydrangeas in July and August, massed wild flowers throughout the summer, fabulous autumn colours in late October and early November.  

What’s an interesting fact about your garden?

The garden is in the heart of the Norfolk Broads, has its own private broad and offers boat trips from April to October.

 


MEET HELMSLEY WALLED GARDEN IN THE NORTH WEST

When and how did the garden first begin?

There’s been a garden here since the mid-1700s with the usual story of being at its height just before World War 1 with a garden staff of twenty. The war changed everything, many were killed including Earl Feversham. As a consequence, the family moved from Duncombe Park to another residence and the house was let. The garden which had been the kitchen garden for the house and estate ended up as a market garden up until the 1980s when it was abandoned and became derelict. In 1994, local woman Alison Ticehurst wanted to restore the garden and also make it a place of horticultural therapy, something that was quite radical back then. Armed only with a small amount of money, a big idea and a few friends, she started the process of restoring the garden. sadly Alison died four year later but the work of maintaining and developing the garden goes on.

What’s the one-spot visitors shouldn’t miss?

This varies throughout the seasons, in early June it would be the Laburnum Arch, in September it would be the orchard full of fruit. But in July it would be the Hot Border, our 200m double herbaceous borders stretching down the middle of the garden, planted up in reds, oranges, yellows with hints of purple and white to create a fabulous display of colour and vibrancy.

What can visitors expect to see this season?

This season is all about development, the blossom continues to come out on our apple trees of which we have almost 150 producing apples from August through to December. The Laburnum Arch will flower, The Kitchen Garden will be planted up as will the Cut Flower border. The spring flowering clematis will be in bloom in the Clematis Garden and the Physic Garden and Garden of Contemplation will be two tranquil places to sit, surrounded by plants.

What’s an interesting fact about your garden?

If you look at the garden from above you will see that it is asymmetrical. It’s actually a rhombus and was designed and built to be in order to get the maximum amount of sunshine for the flowers, fruit and vegetables grown in it. The walls help to raise the temperature a little but in spite of being walled it is a very open and welcoming space. Everyone enjoys gardening here, we have a team of volunteers without whom we could not manage and they help to keep the garden looking wonderful.


MEET ST ANDREWS BOTANIC GARDEN IN SCOTLAND

When and how did the garden first begin?

The original Botanic Garden was founded by the University of St. Andrews in 1889 in the precincts of St. Mary's College by a group of enthusiasts led by Dr John Hardie Wilson. The original garden was about 0.1ha (0.25 acres) and consisted of 78 regularly-shaped beds laid out according to the Bentham and Hooker plant classification. By 1960 the old Botanic Garden covered 2.8ha (7.8 acres). The current Botanic Garden site of 7.5ha (18.5 acres) was created from two fields in the early 1960s to cater for expansion of the collection and release the town centre lands for other purposes. In 1987, the Garden was leased to Fife Council.  In 2014 St Andrews Botanic Garden Trust was formed from the Education Trust and took full responsibility for the garden with continued support from Fife Council and the University of St Andrews.

What’s the one-spot visitors shouldn’t miss?

The Garden is full of natural beauty all year round, but the Glasshouses are always a must-see – whatever the Scottish weather, you can feel transported to places all around the globe!

What can visitors expect to see this season?

Spring flowers and rhododendrons in the woodland are looking spectacular at the moment, and the Alpine Display House and Rock Garden are particularly vibrant. We’ve installed a new accessible path recently in our Rock Garden so that more guests can enjoy it. Our herbaceous border is always a riot of colour in the summer months, and late summer you’ll discover our wildflower meadow too.

What’s an interesting fact about your garden?

We have an educational Tropical Butterfly House open April – October which is a massive hit with families! We therefore have some great tropical plants! The special thing about the Garden itself is that there’s something for everyone – great things to see and tips to pick up for the amateur, and horticultural inspiration for the professional.