The gardens at Mottisfont

The herbaceous borders of the walled gardens at Mottisfont, Hampshire

In our walled gardens you'll find deep herbaceous borders full of pretty floral colour and delicious scents. The huge plane trees, towering beeches and oaks that fringe the house are on the verge of turning to the soft yellows and russets of autumn.

The herbaceous borders lining the paths of our walled gardens are a seasonal highlight. Providing a wonderful floral colour palette right through until October, these borders showcase a huge variety of plants chosen for their structure, rich scent and eye-catching colours. 

The planting is the result of an ambitious project to restore the borders back to the original design of horticulturalist Graham Stuart Thomas, who created them in 1972. Agapanthus, geraniums and peonies mingle with pinks, lilies and phlox, to name just a few. 

Colours range from soft blues, pinks and whites in the centre of the borders to stronger colours at the ends (dark pinks, yellows, oranges) that really draw your eye along the length of the border. 

Guided walks

Get to know our gardens and grounds with a free guided walk when you visit.

Volunteer outdoor guides at Mottisfont, Hampshire

Guided walks at Mottisfont 

Our friendly team of outdoor guides offer free walks and talks around the gardens, village and wider estate, giving you the opportunity to learn more about our history and grounds. If you’d like to know what walks are available on your visit, please ask at visitor reception as you arrive, or take a look at the daily walks noticeboard at the end of the Welcome Centre walkway.

Garden highlights

Autumn colour

Yellow plane trees and other autumn colours beside the font stream at Mottisfont, Hampshire

Mottisfont, Hampshire 

Our gardens are ablaze with colour in from late September through to November: the stately trees which frame our house and grounds are crowned with red, orange and gold shades. Our innovative new Kitchen Garden is bursting with produce in raised beds, and hanging gourds spill over a pergola walkway.

The walled gardens

Rose arch at Mottisfont

Our walled rose gardens 

Our walled gardens are home to the National Collection of pre-1900 shrub roses, which reach their peak in June. Unlike modern species, old-fashioned roses tend to flower just once a year, so their full summer blooming is an extraordinary annual sight. While the main displays are now over for another year, there’s still plenty to see. As well as bright herbaceous borders and scented lavender, there are still beautiful blooms from repeat-flowering rose varieties, too. 

The font and river

The abundant spring that encouraged settlement at Mottisfont hundreds of years ago is now an ornamental of feature of the garden.

The font and River Test have enabled gardeners over the centuries to make a landscape that is both beautiful and productive.

The font and abbey stream are a unique feature of Mottisfont's grounds
The font stream at Mottisfont, Hampshire
The font and abbey stream are a unique feature of Mottisfont's grounds

Now a haven for wildlife and a place for wonderful walks, the Abbey Stream is a man-made channel that was created to bring the River Test closer to the house. The river is now home to a wide range of wildlife - gaze at the crystal clear river and see trout, salmon or rarer species.

Magnificent trees

Visitors approaching Mottisfont are often drawn to the enormous tree which, from some angles, seems to dwarf the building. This huge London Plane is thought to be the largest of its kind in Britain, and forms part of the National Collection of plane trees which stand in our grounds.

Mottisfont is home to many other breath-taking trees, including grand horse chestnuts and stately oaks, fine examples of carefully planned 'informal' landscape planting from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Our lime avenue was designed by Geoffrey Jellicoe
An avenue of lime trees in the grounds of Mottisfont, Hampshire
Our lime avenue was designed by Geoffrey Jellicoe

An elegant double row of pollarded limes and the yew octagon were planted later, in Maud Russell's time. A beech circle was also planted between the walled gardens and the stables about 50 years ago to replace a similar feature that had come to the end of its life.

The winter garden

Spring flowers surrounding a bench in the winter garden at Mottisfont, Hampshire

The winter garden at Mottisfont 

Experience the vibrant colours of Mottisfont's winter garden. Stroll through paths that wind through winter-flowering shrubs and perennials, chosen for colour and scent.