Winter interest in the gardens

The scent of mahonia and the sound of a robin fill the woodland garden

The scent of mahonia and the sound of a robin fill the woodland garden

The gardens are open every day, and frosty shrubs take on sculptural forms to delight our winter visitors.

Take a walk around our gardens on a winter's day and you'll still find winter-flowering shrubs with heady scents to attract brave insects. There are snowdrops, hellebores and other plants in flower, encouraged by mild early winter days.

Stroll through the woodland garden, our tranquil haven, filled with scent from viburnums and mahonias. Throughout the gardens you'll hear robins singing to guard their territories ready for spring.

Looking good

Hellebores in the woodland garden are a delight in late winter © Jana Eastwood

Christmas rose, Lenten rose (Hellebore)

Find them throughout the woodland garden.

These are the stars of our shady woodland in late winter and early spring. The white varieties are the first to flower, then the taller pinks and exotic-looking doubles come into bloom. Brave early-flying bees and other insects love them and so do we.

Looking good

Enjoy the scent of Sarcococca along the north wall by the croquet lawn © National Trust

Sweet box (Sarcococca hookeriana)

Find along on the north border by the croquet lawn.

Walk along here to the riverside parterre and you’re in for a treat. This delightful evergreen shrub brings a sweet vanilla scent to the late winter garden with its pretty clusters of pink and white flowers. Hardy and easy to maintain, another bonus is that it’s happy in a dry shady spot.

Looking good

The giant leaves of the rice paper plant make a bold statement © National Trust

Rice paper plant (Tetrapanax papyrifer 'Rex')

Find it on the long border.

These huge leaves make a bold statement in the border now that other plants have died down. We call it our 'T Rex' plant and like it so much that we'll be planting more to add structure to the whole scheme. It may die down if winter turns very cold but will make a dramatic reappearance later in spring.

Looking good

Winter aconites bring spring colour to the woodland garden © Mary Gleaves

Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)

Find it in the woodland and along the borders.

This reliable little hardy perennial has cheery yellow flowers which brighten the winter garden as they come into flower in January and last well into spring. Completely unrelated to the poisonous tall blue perennial, it may have acquired its common name simply because of a similarity in the foliage.

Discover more in the gardens

Restoration work is beginning inside and outside the summerhouse © Jana Eastwood

Restoration work is beginning inside and outside the summerhouse

  • We're beginning desperately-needed restoration work on the little summerhouse that Mary Elizabeth had built for her grandchildren, funded in part by proceeds from the raffle tickets that our visitors have bought.
  • Stroll round the gardens and find inspiration for winter colour and interest.
  • Simply take a seat and enjoy our hard work or talk to our staff and volunteers about anything that interests you.

What we're up to now

Garden volunteers plant thousands of bulbs every year

Our gardens team regularly post news of their exploits on our blog. Take a look to find out what we're doing throughout the year - how we manage the gardens, what's happening behind the scenes and what we'll be doing in the future.

You can find out more on one of our exclusive garden tours and talks.

There are films from the garden team on our YouTube channel too.

The joys of spring

There are scented shrubs to lift your senses all around, and colour from thousands of bulbs in the parterre.

Enjoy the subtle pinks of masses of hellebores in the woodland garden.

Midsummer borders

Colourful bedding and scented purple heliotrope fill the parterre

There's something new in flower every week on the long border and around the croquet lawn.
Be inspired by the shady woodland garden and enjoy the rainbow of colours in the parterre.

The gardens in summer.

All about autumn

Enjoy the firelight colours of the woodland garden this autumn

Come and enjoy the parterre borders at their glorious best. We love our dahlias and plant more varieties every year - which are your favourites?
Be cheered by the vibrant autumn foliage in the woodland garden.

The gardens in autumn