History of the gardens

Lithograph by G F Prosser from his 'Select Illustrations of Hampshire' 1883 © John Hamond

Lithograph by G F Prosser from his 'Select Illustrations of Hampshire' 1883

Early garden

Mottisfont’s land has been shaped and cultivated since the days of the 13th-century priory. However, it was really the Mill family, Georgian landowners, who laid the framework for today’s garden, with its extensive pleasure grounds, riverside walks and fine trees.

Maud's garden

A young Maud Russell relaxing in the morning room at Mottisfont

Maud Russell commissioned leading garden designers to plan her garden. The yew octagon, pleached lime walk and parterre date from around 1934. Each element reflects something of our earlier history.

Great garden designers

Norah Lindsay

The parterre designed by Norah Lindsay © Robert Morris

Lindsay, whose commissions ranged from quiet English manor gardens to royal residencies, designed the box-edged parterre in front of the house. She took her inspiration from a piece of Tudor glass, which no longer exists.

Geoffrey Jellicoe

Peach lime walk at Mottisfont designed by Geoffery Jellicoe © Phil Marshall

Jellicoe was an architect, town planner, landscape architect and garden designer. Jellicoe planned the pleached lime walk to the north of the house. This formal passage of trees evokes the architecture of the priory’s cloister, demolished long ago.

Graham Stuart Thomas

horticulturalist Graham Stuart Thomas at Mottisfont © Mottisfont

Choosing Mottisfont, he worked with the team here in 1972 and 1973 to build a garden of old roses underplanted with outstanding herbaceous perennials to bring scent and colour from spring to autumn.