April 27th – May 5th is National Gardening Week, organised by the Royal Horticultural Society as “The country’s biggest annual celebration of gardening”. This year’s theme is on bringing nature into our homes and minds to ‘Grow at Home’. Gardening while in lockdown, whether with pot plants to create an indoor jungle, or outside if you are lucky enough to have garden can bring inspiration and uplift to your day and spirit.
As Alan Titchmarsh reminds us, “it’s proven that plants and gardening have a positive effect on our mental health and happiness. They uplift us, they heal us, they bring us closer to nature. They attract life and offer hope and we could all do with more of that right now”.
Best Cotswolds Gardens
In normal times, and again soon, there are many open gardens to visit in England, privately owned, National Trust owned, open to the public some of the year or all year round. Full of inspirational Spring beauty, we thought we’d bring to the fore some of the fantastic English gardens and landscapes we enjoy visiting on our tours:
Hidcote Gardens, North Cotswolds:
Hidcote is a fabulous Arts and Crafts inspired garden designed by Lawrence Johnston between 1907 and 1948, with an eclectic and intricately designed series of outdoor ‘rooms’, courtyards and vistas. From the tranquil Bathing Pool (which myself and my brothers may or may not have fallen into when we were younger), to the ‘Pillar Garden’ with its vast yew pillars creating the effect of walking through classical ruins, there is something for everyone who wanders through. Full of treasures collected and sought out on multiple plant-hunting expeditions across the world – including South Africa, China and the Alps, today Hidcote’s plant and seed collection contains many significant plants of national importance.
Take a Virtual Tour of Hidcote Gardens and enjoy its magnificent views from 360 degrees. This tour is Hidcote in the Autumn, a great time to visit England and the Cotswolds to see our stunning gardens on display.
Kiftsgate Gardens, North Cotswolds:
Kiftsgate Gardens is in fact right next door to Hidcote, but has a completely different feel to it as you walk through. The creation of three generations of women gardeners, with Heather Muir, the first woman in this succession having been a lifelong friend of Lawrence Johnston. Rather than a planned garden, as his was, she decided that the garden would develop organically and many believe this has given the garden a distinctive feminine feel, almost in direct contrast to Johnston’s more masculine lines.
Explore this garden’s fabulous Instagram page to see their incredible Spring flowers, shrubs, plants and trees come to life and inspire you to explore the outdoors, and bring some of the outdoors inside.
Batsford and Westonbirt Arboretums: North and South Cotswolds
Strictly speaking an arboretum is not a garden, however these two arboretums, Batsford in the North near Moreton in Marsh, and Westonbirt in the South near Tetbury, are two of our favourite places to wander through, acres of tree gorgeousness, including many species of Japanese maples loved by all for their fabulous fiery autumn colours. Westonbirt has 2500 different species of tree from the far corners of the globe and 5 national tree collections.
Enjoy Westonbirt’s online Spring Photo Gallery to watch the seasonal change occur in this beautiful place we hope to visit again soon.