Our Gardening Year – A Journey Around Some English Gardens

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Our gardening year begins with this magnificent display of daffodils, which herald the arrival of spring in the UK.

This field, near Whitegate in North Cheshire, was once a daffodil farm. Now it is opened to raise money for worthwhile causes. (Early April).


These snowdrops, which can be found at Rode Hall, near Kidsgrove, Cheshire, come up year after year.

Another attractive Spring plant is the hellebore.

One of England’s leading propagators is John Massey at his garden centre at Ashwood, near Kingswinford, in the West Midlands, which we visited in April. (April)


John also has a beautiful 3 acre garden, which he opens to the public several times a year.










These bluebells, which we found in a copse near the aptly named Bluebell Nursery, soon follow the daffodils. Native English bluebells are fighting a losing battle with invasive Spanish bluebells, which are more vigorous and paler in colour.  (Early May)

Ian Clarke


In May we visited my sister at her home in Surrey. What a wealth of glorious gardens she has around her. The first garden we visited was at Ramster near Chiddingfold, which is open from mid-March to Mid-June and the last two weeks of October for the autumn colour. (May)

It has a natural woodland setting with streams and ponds. They form a backdrop for the magnificent azaleas, rhododendrons and specimen trees.

Here are the children of the family at Ramster playing ‘Oranges and Lemons’

Another garden with a woodland setting is Winkworth Arboretum, which is maintained by the National Trust. It was created in the early 20th century by Dr Wilfrid Fox. The best time to visit is the spring when the azaleas, magnolias and bluebells are in bloom, although the autumn colour is also stunning. (May)

We are members of the Wilmslow Gardening Club, which has excellent talks, fortnightly, throughout the autumn and winter. Come the Spring and Summer we have had several coach trips to interesting gardens.

One of the gardens we visited this year was The Dorothy Clive Garden, near Market Drayton. The garden has two distinct parts…..azaleas and rhododendrons in an old quarry and herbaceous borders on a free draining South slope. (June)

At the beginning of July we visited our son who lives on Orcas Island. It is one of an archipelago of islands called the San Juan Islands, which lie between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. This island paradise is well worth a visit if you enjoy a relaxing time in beautiful surroundings. Here are some lavender fields we visited. (July)

Shortly after our return from the States we went to the RHS Tatton Flower Show in Cheshire. It was a beautiful day…..we really enjoyed ourselves. Here is a bowl packed with alpines and one of the show gardens. (July)


In the middle of September we visited Harrogate Autumn Flower Show. As well as amazing displays of vegetables, there were also competitions for the largest pumpkin or the ugliest carrot! (September)

Finally to round off our gardening year we visited the RHS garden at Rosemoor. The Royal Horticultural Society have five gardens spread around England. Their headquarters is at Wisley near Guildford in Surrey. Their other gardens are at Harlow Carr, Harrogate, North Yorkshire and Hyde Hall, Chelmsford, Essex. A major restoration project is being undertaken at the Duke of Bridgewater’s estate at Worsley, Greater Manchester. They also have over 200 partner gardens spread all over the UK.

The shot above was taken at RHS Rosemoor, which is hidden in a Devon valley close to Great Torrington. The garden and adjoining land was bequeathed to the RHS by Lady Anne Palmer in 1988. The original garden has been retained and enhanced over the years. A separate garden was created by the RHS and opened in 1990.

We hope that this diary of our gardening year will inspire you to visit some of the places and events we have enjoyed during 2017.

PS We would be most grateful if you would leave a comment or shared this post. Many thanks. Val and Ian