Archive | Garden Visits

Looking at other gardens. Suggestions of gardens to visit.

National Garden Scheme Raises £2.7m

In 2016 the National Garden scheme donated £2.7 million to a range of cancer and other charities. This furthers the charitable objectives of the society ‘supporting charities, in their work in the provision of nursing and caring, and

  • the relief of sickness and the preservation and promotion of health;
  • supporting the queen’s nursing institute in its work.
  • assisting such charities or charitable purposes as the trustees shall think fit;’

Looking at the Yorkshire programme for 2017 I forecast an increase in these donations despite the economy and dare I say it the weather.

These Iris were in fine fettle at Creskeld Hall in Wharfedale at the end of May for their open day in aid of NGS. Renown for the Rhododendrons and Azaleas the 3½ acre garden did not disappoint.

Get your local Yellow Book the guide to open gardens and visit some open gardens and help this charity help so many other worthwhile charities.


Studley Royal Water Garden

Fountain Abbey

In the Georgian period of the 1700’s John Aislabie set about landscaping a water garden at Studley Royal near Ripon. Today it is a verdant green garden with ornamental lakes, cascades and vistas to take the breath away. There are temples, follies, St Marys church and several buildings within this World Heritage site. Not least of the buildings is the 12th century Fountains Abbey a crucial part of the landscape.

Things to look out for

  • Spring plants include Primroses, Cowslips and Oxlips.
  • Summer plants include Orchids, Pinks, Scabious
  • Autumn and winter interest comes from the tree colours and snowdrops
  • Wild flower meadow on the walk into Ripon
  • Deer in the parkland

Octagon Tower at Fountains Abbey


  • Soil is limestone and sandstone in a lowland setting.
  • Despite being distant from the East and west coasts the site is only 330 feet above sea level.
  • The site was well chosen by the Cistercian monks 1000 years ago.
  • The first indication of a water garden was the monk’s fish pond that was used to cultivate supper.
  • The land is managed by the National Trust and a team of volunteer gardeners.

Grewelthorpe Himalayan Garden Images

The Himalayan Garden at Grewlthorpe continues to mature and develop. It is great to see a wide range of trees allowed to grow their natural size without undue lopping or arbo work.
A new arboretum will open at the end of May 2017 and the next autumn season will be worth a special visit.

As ever the sculptures are excellently located and seem to breed in number every time I visit.

Rhododendrons are the key feature for me that makes return spring visits a must.

Landscape views from the many well located paths are set to delight.


Botanical Gardens and Botanics

Definitions and Scope

Botany is the science of plant life. In other descriptions it is the study of plant science or plant biology. A botanist is one who studies botany.

A botanic is a drug or medicinal preparation obtained from a plant or plants. 

Botanic gardens are institutions holding documented collections of living plants for the purposes of scientific research, conservation, display and education.”

Oxford Botanic Gardens and Magdalen College Tower.

This garden, the oldest in the UK was founded in 1621 as a physic garden growing plants for medicinal research

The original Cambridge University Botanic Garden (CUBG) was founded in 1762  with the larger site opening in 1846. It provides inspiration for botanists, gardeners and the public with an array of 8000 plant species. As a university garden it has a resources for research and teaching based on a collection of living plants labelled with their botanical names. CUBG is one of 1600 heritage-listed gardens  which are based on ‘designed’ landscapes, rather than on planting or botanical importance.

Chelsea Physic Garden was established as the Apothecaries’ Garden  in 1673

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Durham University Botanic Garden plus other University led botanic gardens at Leicester and Bristol

Ness Botanic Gardens

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Sheffield Botanic Garden has been restored  with  different garden areas with plants from all over the world, this 19-acre Gardenesque-style botanical garden is a diverse one to visit. As with other good botanic gardens it holds National Plant Collections in Sheffields case Weigela, Diervilla and Sarcococca.

National Botanic Garden of Wales

Belfast College Park, Botanic Avenue

Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  contains exotic plants in a massive 137-hectare garden’

Singapore Botanic Gardens founded  in 1859 has Singapore’s  National Orchid Garden holding a collection of more than 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids of orchids

Other large cities have notable botanic gardens including Sidney, New York, Kirstenbosch, Padova, Munchen and Montreal.

Botanic Labeling

cyclamen cilicium

Botanic label and specimen containing the  family name Myrsinaceae, or the myrsine family and origin S W Turkey. The species name Cyclamen Cilcium, the forma as two cultivars have been named but there are many similar wild forms. The number is the accession number 4 digits show the year the plant was first acquired  then last four numbers are sequential numbers.

Myrsinaceae is a rather large family from the order Ericales, that includes Cyclamen among 30+ genera.

RHS Plant label information downloadable

Book Cover

Book Cover


Plants from Madeira

Seductive plants from Madeira are best viewed on the island but it is tempting to bring some how as bulbs or plants. I avoid bringing plant material home as it may bring back pest and disease. As a Yorkshireman I don’t want  to loose my money and the plant markets are just tourist ‘come and buy me’ traps.

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Monte Palace Tropical Garden

  • 3 Miles from Funchal at Monte there is a tropical garden dating back to the 18th century. You can access it by 21st century cable car and return on the toboggans.
  • 70,000 square meters of garden include Proteas, Cycads, Acaias, Sequoias and Azaleas representing all the continents.
  • Close by is the wilder area of the Laurissilva Forest a Unesco world heritage site.

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Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro Gardens

  • The gardens, owned by the Blandy family since 1885, boasts some of the most valuable and rare exotic plants on the island.
  • The gardens specialise in splendid Camellia varieties which you will be able to admire to its full extent during the main flowering season between November and April.
  • There is also topiary, great trees and views down into Funchal.

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Botanical Gardens

  • Quinta do Bom Sucesso was a private Quinta belonging to the Reid’s family. This has been the Government owned botanic garden since 1960. – where the climatic conditions are much in favour of exuberant vegetation.
  • The Botanical Garden boasts more than 2000 different plants.
  • Throughout the gardens visitors can find the plants labeled with their scientific names, common name and origin.
  • There are five distinct areas to visit including, Indigenous and endemic, Tree Garden, Succulents, Tropical/Cultivated/Aromatic/Medicinal and The Loiro Park which has some of the most exotic and rare birds.

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There are several other gardens to visit during a holiday on the Island. The walks in the country also provide ample opportunity to see a wide range of flowers, trees and plants in their natural habitats.


Best Gardens In China for a Visit


China is one of the great destinations for visiting gardens. The influence over garden design and the vast array of plants and flowers is secondary to the investment in time and dedication demonstrated in so many great locations. This is just a selection of those you may consider visiting if you can make the journey..

The Garden of Contentment has an evocative name that for many sums up the essence of gardening. This feeling of tranquility will be found in many of the gardens we are considering visiting but this Shanghai location is an exceptional place to start our virtual garden tour.

YuYuan Garden

Whilst in Shanghai it is worth a visit to the local Botanic Garden with its collection of old bonsai and many acid loving plants.

For a strange, modern, garden in Beijing the Grand View Garden was built in 1984 to represent a fictional garden replicating one described in a classic Chinese tale ‘ A Dream of Red Mansions’ available in English

For keen gardeners the best location must be the ‘Silk City’ of Suzhou where you have a choice of choice gardens to visit.  The name Lingering Garden makes me want to invent a name for my own patch, perhaps that should be the patchwork garden. The image is of the Lingering garden from Wonderlust and Lipstick inspiring women travellers.

Humble Administrator's Garden
The Canglingting or Dark blue wave garden is deceptive in its use of pools and local scenery whilst the Humble Administrators Garden is anything but humble as the largest garden in the city. The Circular Grace  Mountain Villa blends with the rocky out crops making traditional use of the landscape evocative of Chinese painting.

The star amongst so may great  cultural heritage sites is the The Master of the Nets Garden a household garden and one of the smallest but highly recommended. It is about one thousand years old and is inspirational particularly in the design and linking with the living accommodation.
Imperial Garden in the Forbidden City

See more information courtesy of Travel Guide China
The Master of the Nets Garden

‘Even more than the architectural achievement is the mood of tranquillity and harmony that this humble garden embodies.
This exquisite garden was first designed during the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279) as part of a residence that was used until the Taiping Rebellion in the 1860’s. It was later restored and became the residence of a government official from whom the garden got its name.
The garden is divided into three sections: a residential section, the central main garden and an inner garden. The main garden has a large pond that is surrounded by pathways and a variety of buildings such as the Ribbon Washing Pavilion, and the Pavilion for the advent of the Moon and Wind. There are many more buildings that are situated so that there is never a sense of crowding, but always of spaciousness. As is common in Suzhou gardens, the pond has a small pavilion in it. Here the pavilion is accessible by a bridge that is less than one foot wide.
As you walk about the gardens and along the walkways, there are often views through windows onto beautiful flowers or plants framing them from a distance and drawing you to a single sight, a moment of peaceful natural beauty. As you walk through the buildings, it is easy to imagine the life that the original residents lived in a feudal society where these gardens were solely for their pleasure and the pleasure of their guests. The various buildings are constructed so that you can always access the main garden from any room.’

Guo Zhuang Botanical Garden and traditional private gardens are often on the tour circuit on trips to Eastern China. Other Botanic gardens to consider include Sun Yat-sen Botanical Garden in Nanjing , South China Botanical Garden, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden
Kunming Botanical Garden, Wuhan Botanical Garden Lushan Botanical Garden, Hangzhou Botanical Garden and Guilin Botanical Garden.

Book Cover

Great book on Great Gardens in China by Peter Valder
From amazon ‘Valder’s illuminating compilation of more than 200 gardens promises to provide the ultimate resource for future travelers before mbarking on a trip they can study and savor images and information on diverse horticultural realms located throughout China… A lavish record of famed Imperial gardens as well as fascinating examples of lesser-known temples, parks, and botanical arboreta… Encompassing a treasury of plant portraits, stunning architectural details, and awe-inspiring vistas, Valder’s chosen topic is rendered in such depth as to rouse armchair dreamers and act as a call to action for avid garden trekkers.

YuYuan Garden by Wolfgang Staudt CC BY-NC 2.0 ‘Yuyuan Garden, first established in 1559, is located in the center of the Old City next to the Chenghuangmiao in Shanghai.
Humble Administrator’s Garden by Jan Langhaug CC BY-NC 2.0
Imperial Garden in the Forbidden City by ajft CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Yuyuan Garden by ksbuehler CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Yuyuan Garden


Gozo Flower Photos in March

Malta, Gozo and Comino are Mediterranean island hot spots for early coastal flowers if these photos are anything to go by. Not a plant hunters paradise but a photographers opportunity to get some good shots.

Plants of  Gozo
Agave and Aloe varieties seem to cope with the climate and the salt ladened air.
Plants of Malta  march Continue Reading →


Top British Gardens to Visit

Britain has some of the best gardens in the world. The choice of which to visit is far larger than this selective list but at least it gives you somewhere to start planning this years outings.

Folly Foot Folly

A list of 55 gardens in England recommended by the Royal Horticultural Society. The RHS generally provides free admission for members throughout the open period.

Harlow Carr – Harrogate Yorkshire
Hyde Hall – Chelmsford Essex
Wisley – Woking Surrey
Rosemoor – Devon
Bluebell Cottage Garden Cheshire
Holker Hall & Garden – Cumbria Continue Reading →


Yorkshire Gardens & Special Interests to Visit

Newby Hall & Garden

Newby Hall and Garden is well known in the gardening fraternity as an impressive example of well designed and extensive range of garden features, expertly decorated with a diverse range of plants. The truly magnificent herbaceous borders are the central feature of the gardens but are by no means the only feature of quality. Garden rooms and themed planting provide a range of style’s that can easily be incorporated into most gardens large or small. Of particular value is the work on plant conservation and Newby boasts the best collection of the genus Cornus in the Country.” I would also add the acid lovers Azaleas, Camellias, Rhododendrons and Magnolias so recommend visiting in April or May.


Harewood House

Harewood Himalayan Garden

Known for the imposing House and sweeping terrace there is much to satisfy the gardener. The Himalayan garden is a feature I most appreciate. Designed by Capability Brown there are 1000 acres of parkland and even a bird garden with many species. Continue Reading →


Famous Royal Garden Top Ten Homes

A light-hearted look at or Royal family residences.
Hampton Court palace and gardens

  • Hampton Court  Henry VIII’s old dwelling and home to RHS flower show
  • Highgrove Prince Charles allotment and home to plants that like to listen
  • Frogmore – Windsor great park Not home to frogs but to little princesses

Continue Reading →


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