Great places for garden lovers

Soak up the sunshine, summer is here. Enjoy long, lazy days in gardens packed with colour and scent from thousands of flowers in full bloom.

Find a shady spot to sit and relax, with the cooling trickle of a nearby fountain, or walk beside swathes of wild flowers buzzing with the sound of busy insects. Feast your eyes on flower borders with their paintbox palette of colours and beautiful, scented rose gardens.

We have plenty to inspire you, here are some of the best gardens to visit in summer.

    Barrington Court, Somerset

    Summer is the season to see the broad drifts of colour in Gertrude Jekyll’s flower gardens. Her designs for this garden are among her finest work, even though she was nearly blind and in her seventies when she was approached to undertake the planting. From the beautiful waterlily pool surrounded by mixed flower borders to the Rose and Iris Garden and the cool, pale shades of the White Garden, there’s plenty to enjoy.

    Felbrigg, Norfolk

    Contemporary, sustainable and inventive, the gravel borders at Felbrigg come into their own in summer. Surrounded by protective garden walls, plants native to the Mediterranean, Australia and South Africa, thrive here. Towering palms lend a tropical feel, geranium palmatum provide splashes of bright pink, while the gravel floor glows with colourful mesembryanthemums, gazanias, Californian poppies and argyranthemums. 

    Mottisfont, Hampshire

    Enter the walled garden in mid-summer and be enchanted by a garden full of beautiful, scented, old fashioned roses. The core of the collection belonged to Graham Stuart Thomas, our first gardens advisor and other roses have been added, there are now around 500 varieties. The wonderful herbaceous borders that complement them are also Graham’s design. One of the loveliest summer gardens you can visit.

    Mount Stewart, County Down

    This is one of the most remarkable gardens you will ever see. Mythical creatures, symbolism and a garden full of rare and exotic plants flourishing in a sub-tropical climate. Explore the distinctly different garden areas, such as the brightly coloured borders in the Italian Garden with its huge clipped bays. The warm and spicy scent from the fabulous collection of eucalyptus trees fills the garden with fragrance on a sunny summer afternoon.

    Nymans, West Sussex

    Be amazed by a piece of lavish horticultural theatre when the long double borders, planted out each year with thousands of annuals, are in full bloom. Combined with perennials to create steeply tiered borders and produce a kaleidoscope of colours on a grand scale, the giant topiary crowns halfway down the borders add to the sense of drama. It’s a summer floral display that’s hard to beat.

    Osterley Park, London

    Escape the hustle and bustle of the city in the tranquil beauty of this parkland and gardens. Enjoy the wildflowers and insects thriving in the Great Meadow and admire the beautiful flower garden with its flowing paisley-shaped beds and showy, tiered planting in full bloom during the summer months. Take in the Tudor walled garden to see the colourful cutting beds providing flowers for the house and cool down by the lakes on a hot afternoon.

    Overbecks, Devon

    Step inside the garden on a hot summer’s day and be instantly transported into a steamy jungle or the dry Mediterranean, depending which way you turn. The gardeners take advantage of this mild and sheltered climate with a wide range of exuberant, sub-tropical planting. Enjoy towering tree echiums, the Banana Garden and many species of ginger lilies with their butterfly-like blooms.

    Packwood House, Warwickshire

    Admire the flower borders at Packwood, which provide a masterclass in garden design and the artistry that can be achieved with colour and texture. From the harmony of muted pink, rich purple, deep red and silver tones in the double borders near the house to the spectacular terrace borders zinging with a riot of rich, hot colours, it’s a summer treat to fill you with ideas to take home.

    Powis Castle, Wales

    Don’t miss the spectacular haute-couture container planting with some of the most sophisticated combinations to be found in any pot. Thirty different containers flower for over four months, a tradition stretching back to before 1700 when the garden was first created. Then weave your way down through the terrace borders with their fabulous displays of tender perennials and admire the double herbaceous borders on the Orangery Terrace reaching their flowering peak in summer. 

    Snowshill Manor, Gloucestershire

    Enjoy the flower borders where plants tumble and mingle together in ordered chaos, typical of the cottage-garden style. Owner Charles Paget Wade preferred the soft pastel shades of sweet rocket, honesty, roses and foxgloves, with just the odd splash of colour from bright red oriental poppies. This is a quintessentially English country garden in the Arts and Crafts style, with quirky features and something to delight at every turn.