With hundreds of gardens spread across the whole of the country, every year, one would imagine, is the year of the Great British Garden. Except, this year is so named, because it’s the 300th anniversary of the birth of GB’s godfather of gardening: Capability Brown.
The landscape architect is credited with having influenced, in some way, every landscape designer who came after him – not just in Britain, but all over the world. Brown constructed gardens and parkland and linked woods and farms with carriage drives, making landscapes functional as well as beautiful. He’s associated with more than two hundred British landscapes, some of which have featured in Turner paintings and Wordsworth’s poetry.
To mark the occasion of Brown’s birth and the incredible impact he had on a nation that treasures its gardens, the entire year is dedicated to Brown with special events throughout.
The National Trust, which looks after most of the gardens in Great Britain, has put together a special seasonal list of highlights for Lunch Magazine, to plan visits at various times of year.
National Trust visitor passes, providing entry to many of the gardens and homes, can be purchased in advance of a visit through their website.
Blickling Estate, Norfolk
Visit in May and pass through the carpet of English bluebells and fragrant beds of the parterre. You’ll find hellebores, daffodils and bluebells, azaleas and rhododendron, wisteria and peonies. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blickling-estate
One of England’s iconic manor gardens, Hidcote is a network of beautiful garden rooms filled with narcissus and later aquilegias and Welsh poppies in the Pillar Garden. The orchard blossoms with wild flowers at this time of year. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hidcote
Between February and May, spring flowers will be out in full bloom with the Magnolias, Camellias and Rhododendrons, as well as bulbs in the grassy areas; Bluebells, Narcissus, Cyclamen, Snowdrops and Fritillaries.
Biddulph Grange Garden, Staffordshire
Biddulph is a delightful high Victorian garden created by James Bateman for his collection of plants from around the world. The garden features rhododendrons, summer bedding displays, a stunning dahlia walk in late summer and the oldest surviving golden larch in Britain, brought from China in the 1850s. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/biddulph-grange-garden
Visit one of the world’s finest landscape gardens (shown at top) and see vistas highlighted with burnished leaves and rusty colour palettes. Towards the end of August, the North American maple begins to turn a scarlet red, heralding the start of the splendid autumnal season and the Japanese acers, hornbeam, chestnuts, also put on a vivid display. The Tulip trees take on a butter yellow hue while the oak and beech finish off the season with their bright oranges late in October. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead
Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire
The Winter Garden at Anglesey Abbey bursts with life during the colder months. Designed specifically with plants that give winter colour, texture and fragrance, it is a beautiful sight to be enjoyed by winter visitors. Discover bright yellow and red dogwoods. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/anglesey-abbey-gardens-and-lode-mill
Dunham Massey, Cheshire
The Dunham Massey winter garden is the largest of its kind in the UK. The seven-acre garden is home to over 700 different plant species as well as white-stemmed silver birches and bright dogwood barks, colourful berries and flowers. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunham-massey