I was thinking the other day about all of the factors that have led us to creating a naturalistic style garden and as well as the books and television programmes that have influenced us, it is visiting gardens in real life that has probably been the most influential factor as there is nothing quite like seeing gardens in real life to feel inspired. Obviously the pandemic did have an effect on just how and when we could see gardens but here are the top three that have influenced us over time. (Please check online before you visit, in case any of these are currently closed).
Dove Cottage Garden www.dovecottagenursery.co.uk/
Dove Cottage is our favourite local garden. It was closed in recent years due to the pandemic, but we did visit the nursery during this time and bought some wonderful perennials, including some rare varieties which have thrived in our garden as all their plants do. The garden itself is set onto a hillside and feels like a secret garden as you go through a door that is surrounded by dense yew hedging and then find yourself on a winding gravel path where you are surrounded by grasses and dense planting of many beautiful flowers. It really is an awe inspiring place.
RHS Hyde Hall www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/hyde-hall
We’ve been here a few times with our family members as it is near to them. It is a lovely huge site that is well designed and has a beautiful array of perennial plants, shrubs and trees and the newish Global Vegetable Garden must be one of our favourite spaces as you can find such an interesting variety of unusual plants there. It is a great garden for kids and often runs kids activities in the holidays.
Scampston Walled Garden www.scampston.co.uk/at-scampston-north-yorkshire/walled-garden
Admittedly, we’ve not been here for a while, though we do intend to visit again, as soon as we can. Scampston was a very early Piet Oudolf designed garden and it is breathtakingly stunning. What we most enjoyed about this space was the inclusion of low Adirondack chairs, as when you sat down in these you were eye level with the gorgeous planting which has a very painterly-like quality to it.
There are so many more gardens we are keen to visit and keep getting inspired by such as RHS Bridgewater and the garden of The Hepworth in Wakefield. Of course, it doesn't have to be actual gardens that you find inspiration from either. It could be a plant or planting combination in a park or in a neighbour’s garden that you find inspiration from or a painting or a particular colour you are attracted to. All of these are inspirational and can help us to create the feeling that we want to evoke in our own gardens.