Going wild in the garden

Learn how on a National Trust gardening day in Cornwall – one of a series of special events for the green-fingered this spring.

This is a great time of year for touring some of the Trust’s 200-plus amazing gardens to enjoy the profusion of spring blooms. The Cornish garden offering tips on gaining the wild look at home is Glendurgan, where carefully planted wildflower areas can be found among the exotic trees and shrubs. 

They look fabulous and on May 6 Glendurgan’s gardeners will be sharing over 20 years of experience cultivating wildflowers with those planning to let their lawn go wild or introduce new plants to an existing meadow.

It may irritate the hell out of orderly-minded suburban neighbours with their conventional, neatly manicured lawns – but ‘the natural look’ should impress your visitors!

National Trust Garden in Stourhead

One of my favourite National Trust Gardens is Stourhead in Wiltshire. With its beautiful man-made lake reflecting classical temples, mystical grottoes, and rare and exotic trees, it’s a great place to enjoy at any time. Visit between May 3 – 7, however, and you can join a free guided tour* to see the spring blooms in all their glory.

The daffodils and magnolias are a wonderful sight and very shortly Stourhead’s famously stunning rhododendrons will burst on the scene.

Studley Royal Water Garden

Another fine 18th-century landscaped garden can be found in North Yorkshire. Studley Royal Water Garden has been elevated to a World Heritage site and claims to be the least-altered Georgian ‘green’ garden in England. 

The landscape incorporates the remains of 12th-century Fountains Abbey and Elizabethan Fountains Hall.
You can enjoy the tranquillity of Studley’s elegant ornamental lakes, avenues, temples and cascades and, on April 27, celebrate spring on a free wildlife walk to admire the swathes of primroses, wood anemones, violets and bluebells. 

Sissinghurst Castle was a ruined Elizabethan manor house in the Weald of Kent when transformed in the 1930s by Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson. The renowned garden is divided into a series of compartments with an inspired and informal arrangement of plants around different themes.

Visitors on April 29 can take part in demonstrations and learn how to cultivate their own spring garden. The one-day event costs £75 and includes lunch and tea.

Plan a short stay

Planning to make a short break of your garden visit? Attractive country house hotels handy for the National Trust gardens mentioned include Budock Vean near Falmouth (a mere mile from Glendurgan), Howard’s House at Teffont Evias (33-minute drive from Stourhead), Rudding Park near Harrogate (34 minutes Studley), and Rye Lodge (35 minutes Sissinghurst).

*All free events are available to visitors paying the National Trust entry charge. Annual membership of the Trust costs from £27 for individuals aged 16-25, £95.50 for couples and £98 families (two adults with two children).
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