Things to see and do at Mottistone Gardens

The tranquil gardens at Mottistone are well known for their colourful borders but there's far more to explore too. Banks covered with wildflowers in the spring shelter the gardens and unusual plants thrive despite a lack of water.

Colourful herbaceous borders

Each summer the double borders fill with colour. From lofty, bright, red-hot pokers, and purple agapanthus, to creamy sisyrinchium, the gardens burst with rainbow shades as bees hum and buzz as they gather nectar. The sheltered conditions mean that from June through to late September, the flowers will continue to bloom. As well as more traditional varieties, the borders also contain several drought resistant plants, as we never water and let nature take its course.  
 
The double herbaceous border at Mottistone Gardens in July
The colourful flowers of the double border in Mottistone Gardens, Isle of Wight in July
The double herbaceous border at Mottistone Gardens in July

Tranquil rose garden

This sheltered area of the garden is a wonderful place to relax. Hummingbird hawkmoths are attracted by the flowers. Each June the gentle aroma of the roses fills the gardens and the Rose Bonica creates a froth of danity pink shells that cascade across the centre of this patch.
 
Clusters of flowers on Rosa 'Bonica' in Mottistone Gardens
Clusters of pink flowers on the Bonica rose at Mottistone Gardens
Clusters of flowers on Rosa 'Bonica' in Mottistone Gardens
 

New plants for our changing climate

As one of the Trust’s most southerly ‘dry’ gardens, the team of gardeners and volunteers plant Mediterranean-style planting. High up on the banks that overlook the gardens, there’s a small olive grove that’s starting to establish itself. In the monocot border, to the front of the gardens, there are exotic plants from around the world that do well in dry conditions. Here yuccas are found with palms and bananas.
 
Planting for a changing climate in Mottistone Gardens
A grassy path leading to Mottistone Manor between borders of exotic plants
Planting for a changing climate in Mottistone Gardens

More to explore....

Most people will head to the borders, but beyond them lie plenty of other corners of the gardens to discover.

The organic kitchen garden

Featuring accessible pathways and raised beds, the organic kitchen garden has changing planting that varies through the seasons. From the first new potatoes of the year, to sweet raspberries in early autumn, there’s always something different to see. 'Companion planting' is used to deter pests and instead of artificial fertilisers the hungry soil is fed with farmyard manure and compost. You can get a taste of the gardens too as, whenever possible, we use the freshly picked fruits and vegetables in dishes we make for the tea garden.

A plate of cake and a cup of tea on a table in Mottistone Gardens

Mottistone Gardens National Trust tea garden

Discover our secluded tea gardens where you can relax and indulge in something a little bit sweet, a thirst quenching drink or even a light lunch.

Picking vegetables in the organic kitchen garden at Mottistone
Food and beverage staff member picking vegetables from the organic kitchen garden at Mottistone
Picking vegetables in the organic kitchen garden at Mottistone

The orchard

Towards the rear of the gardens is the orchard. Often quieter than the herbaceous borders, it makes a relaxing space to unwind in or watch little ones run around on the grassy lawn. In spring, the avenue of trees blossom with confetti-like petals and in summer the fruits start to hang low from laden branches.  Head to the very back of the orchard and you’ll find quiet benches to sit on amongst the tall trees whose leaves gently rustle in the breeze. From here a network of footpaths criss-cross the Mottistone Estate too.

Spy the sea from the banks that surround the orchard in Mottistone
Family sitting by the wildflower banks in Mottistone Gardens
Spy the sea from the banks that surround the orchard in Mottistone

Wildflower banks and sea views

High wildflower banks border the orchard. In spring a carpet of narcissi and bluebells cover the slopes and in summer ox eye daisies dance and bob in the breeze.

From the lower gardens, paths meander up through these shrub-filled banks and grassy terraces to the garden's higher levels. If you sit on one of the benches here, you’ll see views of the gardens, village and sea beyond and spy butterflies flitting between the flowers and grasses.

In summer, the gully provides a welcome spot of shade to escape to and in early spring it comes alive with colour as the vivid pink azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and hellebores flower.

If you’d like to know more about the gardens are how we look after them, you can pick up a guide book for a small fee from Visitor Reception.