In the cold wet winter it is a good time to plan where to visit as the year improves. The South West is the obvious place to start your visiting tour of gardens containing exotic plants.
La Seigneurie in Sark has tall walls to protect from wind. The Australian Bottlebrush and New Zealand Tea Tree thrive alongside the oldest surviving 19th century feature of the original layout, the formal rose garden edged with box hedging.
Trebah Garden near Falmouth in Devon benefits from a micro climate created by a deep valley. Tree ferns, gunneras, bamboo and tall Chusan Palms. The camellia collection looks good in spring and Camellias have justly earned their title as ‘Queen of the Winter Flowers’. These beautiful blooms range from deep red to white with all shades of pink in between. They can be found along Camellia Walk, Petry’s Path and Badger’s Walk.
Abbotsbury Tropical Garden near Weymouth is a 20 acre garden filled with rare and exotic plants from all over the world and was established in 1784. The gardens are well regarded for the Rhododendron and Hydrangea collections plus the charming Victorian Garden and Swannery.
Abriachan Garden is at the other end of the UK near Loch Ness. The garden and nursery is full of plants from the countries where the owners have previously lived and gardened…….Olearias, Pittosporums and Flaxes from New Zealand; Tea berries and Diddle-Dee from the Falkland Islands.
The Exotic Garden in Norwich becomes quite magical in spring full of hidden corners and riotous colour. ‘The air is filled with the intoxicating scent of Jasmine, Brugmansia (Angels trumpets) and different varieties of Hedychiums and Alpinias. (Gingers). The ridiculously large leaved Elephants Ear, Colocasia esculenta, ‘Mammoth’ with luscious green leaves 2×3 feet in size on long stems. Towering bananas such as the purple Abyssinian banana Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’, form massive canopies to walk under as do the root hardy banana Musa basjoo.’
For Exotic gardens overseas read this Daily Telegraph article
RHS recommendations include
the ‘Sino Himalayan garden at Muncaster Castle, Cumbria, where you could be on another continent. The semi-wild garden is home to one of Europe’s oldest collections of rhododendrons and there is always something to enjoy. ‘Although we are not as high as the Himalayas, the microclimate is similar. Often the garden is wreathed with cloud and mist, and lichen and moss on some of the plants evokes the feeling of a lost world,’ says Head Gardener, Jason Haine.’
A trip to the Pompeian Garden at Dyffryn Gardens near Cardiff
The Italian garden of the Trentham Estate in Staffordshire;
The Australian trees and shrubs at Knoll Gardens in Dorset
If you can’t make the trip see these pictures of Bananas