10 Sensational NGS gardens to visit in Dorset
- Credit: ngs.org.uk
Large 1½ acre garden with 35m long south-facing herbaceous border with year-round colour. Formal rose garden within a circular floral planting is bound on three sides by lavender. Small orchard and vegetable garden in adjacent walled area, with whole garden leading to small stream, and bridge to pasture.
Open: 27 March, 11am-3.30pm
Where: Shorts Lane, Beaminster DT8 3BD
Ivy House Garden
Daffodils, tulips and hellebores abound in this unusual and challenging ½ acre garden set on steep hillside with fine views. Run on organic lines with plants to attract wildlife, see mixed borders, ponds, vegetable garden, fruit cage, greenhouses, polytunnel, chickens and bees. Insect-friendly plants usually for sale.
Open: 28 March, 2-5pm
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Where: Piddletrenthide DT2 7QF
Six acres of mature gardens, grounds, views, trees, rare shrubs, spring bulbs and shaped hedges surrounding 16th/18th century house, giving much to explore including 12th century church adjacent to garden. Large Victorian walled garden is productive and managed organically (since 1984) using 'no dig' vegetable beds. Wide herbaceous borders planted for seasonal colour. Traditional potting shed, cob wall, sunken greenhouse.
Open: 5, 7, 14, 21 & 28 April, 2-5pm
Where: Edmondsham, Wimborne BH21 5RE
Knitson Old Farmhouse
Mature cottage garden nestled at base of chalk downland. Herbaceous borders, rockeries, climbers and shrubs, evolved and designed over half a century for year-round colour and interest. Large wildlife-friendly kitchen garden for self-sufficiency. Historical stone artefacts are used in the garden design.
Open: 7 & 14 April, 12-5pm
Where: Corfe Castle, Wareham BH20 5JB
Seven acres of formal and informal gardens. Bog garden beside stream and series of ponds. Yew hedges and mature trees. Lime and crab apple walks, herbaceous borders, colourful rose and clematis arches, fernery and nuttery. Walled vegetable garden and orchard. Woodland and lakeside walks. Fine views.
Open: 10 & 11 April, 2-5pm
Where: Chideock, Bridport DT6 6LF
Cranborne Manor Garden
Beautiful and historic garden laid out in the 17th century by the go-to ‘gardener to the aristocracy’ John Tradescant. Enlarged in 20th century, it features several gardens surrounded by walls and yew hedges: blue and white garden, cottage style and mount gardens, water and wild garden. Many interesting plants, with fine trees and avenues.
Open: 10 April, 10am-4pm
Where: Cranborne BH21 5PP
Once a farmyard, now a delightful, tranquil garden set in 2 acres. Island beds and borders planted with shrubs, roses, masses of unusual perennials and choice annuals give vibrancy and colour from spring until well into the autumn. Lawns and paths lead to less formal area with large wildlife pond, meadow, shaded areas, bog garden and late summer border.
Open: 18 April, 2-5pm
Where: Rampisham, Dorchester DT2 0PU
Large plantsman's garden with magnificent views over Dorset countryside towards the sea. Many rare and mature plants and shrubs in terrraced, herbaceous, rock and water gardens. Woodland garden and walks in bluebell woods. Good amount of spring interest with magnolia, rhododendron and bulbs which are followed by roses and herbaceous planting, wildflower meadow with 164 varieties including orchids.
Open: 21 April, 2.30-4.30pm
Where: Tunnel Road, Beaminster DT8 3HB
17 Lower Golf Links Road
This Broadstone town garden of ⅔ acre is in a heathland suburb. Originally planted with mainly acid-loving plants, now, after much soil enrichment, it features plants for all seasons. Well-organised vegetable garden with brick borders to beds, fruit trees and pond as well as borders. Particularly impressive in spring and early summer, with camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons followed by roses.
Open: 24/25 April, 22/23 May, 11/12 June, 1-5pm
Where: Broadstone, Poole BH18 8BQ
This suburban garden in Ferndown is planted with mostly perennials, ornamental trees and exotic-type plants to give a secluded, private feel. The contemporary colour scheme is mostly white and green with contrasting darker blacks and burgundies, which creates a calming vibe. Designed in the 'broken plan' scheme, the garden is divided into rooms, with seating areas, tropical stepping stone pond, an outdoor kitchen/ BBQ area and greenhouse.
Open: 24 April & 2 May, 1-5pm
Where: 15 Longacre Drive, Ferndown BH22 9EE
Please pre-book for ALL these gardens at ngs.org.uk
3 big ticket garden events for Dorset NGS this summer
Encombe House, Kingston
Historic Encombe House is tucked away in a beautiful valley in the Purbeck hills. The garden has been extensively redeveloped since 2009, with a modern, sympathetic design by Tom Stuart-Smith. The main garden includes large sweeping borders filled with grasses and perennials, alongside extensive lawns, lake and deep herbaceous beds.
Open: 15 June, 11am-3.30pm
Where: Kingston, Corfe Castle, Wareham BH20 5LW
This historic town house in Beaminster features several distinctive walled gardens, rolling lawns, sculpture and giant topiary. It is home to furniture design and artist John Makepeace and his wife Jennie, so art and theatre abound here. Enjoy John’s inspirational grasses garden and Jennie's riotous potager with a cleft oak fruit cage. Glasshouse, straw bale studio, geese in orchard. Remarkable trees, planked and seasoning in open sided barn for future furniture commissions. Their beautiful house, where John’s furniture can be admired in situ, is open on NGS days alonsgide paintings, sculpture and applied arts by living artists. Talk on design happenes at each opening and Jennie also gives plant talks.
Open: 23 June & 15 September, 2.30-4.30pm
Where: Whitcombe Road, Beaminster DT8 3NB
Stafford House, West Stafford
Stafford House is the family home of Baron Fellowes of West Stafford DL, the creator of Downton Abbey. Enjoy a stroll along the river walk and its tree planting in the style of early-19th century ‘Picturesque’. Humphry Repton prepared landscape proposals for the garden and the designs were later implemented, they were also included in his famous Red Books. Lord and Lady Fellowes will host a private morning in their garden, including special home-made elevenses under the turkey oak tree planted in 1633 on the main terrace.
Open: 2 July, 10am-12 noon
Where: Stafford House, West Stafford, Dorchester DT2 8AD
Pre-booking is essential now for all NGS venues. Book at ngs.org.uk where you will find the most up-to-date open garden information.