United Kingdom or UK is well-known the world over for its love for gardens and Hampshire, a county situated off the south-coast of England is no exception. Historically well-known for the role it played in the World War II, Hampshire is a county of Castles, Stately Homes and gardens. In-spite of many gardens forming parts of an estate, almost all gardens found here are open to the public and encourage self-guided visits and tailor made tours too.
Some of the most famous gardens of Hampshire are:
- Bramdean House Gardens: Hedges, spring bulb carpets, herbaceous borders, axial walks complete with a working kitchen garden are the highpoints of this garden. Its uniqueness stems from the fact that plantings in the borders facing each other are arranged symmetrically following a colour theme.
- Hinton Ampner Gardens: This is a 20th century garden made by the Lord Sherbourne who designed the garden in a way that it can only be called a classical beauty where its layout and ornamentation is concerned. Excellent planting coupled with exotic topiary and ornaments, hedged terraces, walks etc., all contribute to making this garden a place of tranquillity and calm.
- Sir Harold Hillier Gardens: Touted to have the largest winter gardens in the whole of Europe, this garden showcases a rare Witch Hazel display which is really impressive. Other shrubs which flower in winter like the Daphne bholuas, known for its rich fragrance, etc., all contribute to its beauty. In fact this garden houses quite a large arboretum and its Ghurkha Memorial garden has quite a collection of plants from Nepal. Scree, bog and heather gardens, herbaceous gardens etc., are other gardens found here.
- The Manor House: Situated in Upton Grey, Hampshire, this has been designed as a wild garden with grass paths running through rambling rose bushes, numerous shrubs and green trees to ultimately culminate in a planted pond. A unique rose lawn, bowing, tennis lawns and planted dry stone walls are beautifully and aesthetically surrounded by a kitchen garden, a nuttery and orchards decorated with arbours and pergolas.
- Broadlands Garden: This 20th century home of Lord Mountbatten consists of a Palladian house set in a beautifully designed serpentine park. The house along with its surrounding garden presents a classically beautiful and traditionally enchanting view from across the River Test.
- Houghton Lodge Gardens: Situated beside River Test, the Houghton Lodge can best be considered to be an 18th century cottage offering a peaceful haven in the middle of parkland. The gardens are spectacular and even have a flint grotto along with a modern-day Hydroponicum built within it. It is also famous for its Orchid collection, a traditionally laid out kitchen garden enclosed within Chalk Cob walls, heated greenhouses, a wooden walk with an enchanting herbaceous borders and a spectacular topiary peacock garden.
Hampshire is also the home of numerous other gardens like the Spinners Garden, Tudor house gardens and Museum, Exbury Gardens, Longstock Park water Gardens, Vyne Gardens etc., to name a few. Most of the gardens were built in the 18th century with modifications and alterations added in later centuries. But each and every garden is unique, original and spectacular in its own way thereby offering visitors something new to see and experience.