Thames Valley: Glorious Gardens

Round & About

With spring bursting into life, there can be no better time to get out and enjoy what’s on offer in some of the finest gardens you’re ever likely to see.

Stowe

(near Buckingham, MK18 5EQ)
Cyclamen and aconites abound this year in Easter shades of purple and yellow and there’s the promise of bright bluebells after 125,000 were planted in October. The bell-shaped blooms of the Snakeshead fritillary will be bowing their heads in April-May after 200,000 were planted in a swathe around the property – set to form one of the few Snakeshead fritillary meadows in the country.

 

Cliveden

(near Maidenhead, SL1 8NS)
The six-acre parterre is bursting at the seams with 21,000 spring bedding plants filling the 16 central triangular beds. Elsewhere, 11,000 polyanthus will create a carpet of colour combining with the box hedging and topiary of this unique garden. The oriental inspired water garden is awash with dusky pink of flowering blossom and creamy-white magnolias forming stunning reflections in the water.

Basildon Park

(near Reading, RG8 9NR)
Yellow is the predominant colour at Basildon with the grounds sprayed with buttercups and daffodils. Choose one of the four paths to walk and admire violets, cowslip, cherry blossom and primroses. Further on you’ll find a sea of bluebells leaving you spoilt for choice when it comes to taking photographs.

 

The Vyne

(near Basingstoke, RG24 9HL)
The wild garden is where it’s at for The Vyne this season – from bright yellow aconites under trees to boughs of soft pink cherry blossom on the trees. Pastel blue takes over next month with star-shaped blooms of camassias and of course, plenty of bluebells to charm you too.

 

Waddesdon

(near Aylesbury, HP18 0JH)
The garden is beginning to wake from its winter sleep and colour is creeping into the spring displays. Nearly 40,000 plants will be used to recreate the Victorian splendour of yesteryear. Each area has its own colour scheme – the parterre will be blue, white and pink; the avenue will be bathed in delicate shades of yellow and white, planted in the shape of a star.

 

Nuffield Place

(near Henley, RG9 5RY)
The perfect spot for a peaceful spring stroll surrounded by herbaceous borders with spring bulbs breaking through and light mauve wisteria around the house. Foxgloves are starting to appear in the woodland, attracting insects and a hard-standing path means everyone can admire the bluebells.

hughendon

(near High Wycombe, HP14 4LA)
Visitors here will be able to wander through the handkerchief-like blooms of magnolia, frost permitting, admist the purple pink hues of dog tooth violets, blue forget me knots and bright pink of the Judas tree. Later in spring expect to see grape-like hyacinth while the walled garden will be brimming with the smells of cherry, apple, redcurrants and gooseberries.

 

Greys Court

(near Henley, RG9 4PG)
The woodland floor as been cleared ready for spring with thousands of bulbs being planted to form a blue carpet along the path to Spinney Wood to admire the daffodils, cowslips and irises. Follow the nut tree walk to the maze to enjoy a patchwork of colour with bulbs planted in a quilt-like fashion. Wander around the walled garden to find hyacinths under the 130-year-old wisteria and watch cherry blossom fall on the paths.

 

Harcourt Arboretum

(Nuneham Courtenay, OX44 9PX)
The arboretum is part of the University of Oxford which has now grown to 130 acres and is part of the Botanic Garden. The oldest part, the Pinetum and Serpentine Ride is soon to be awash with the dramatic colours of rhododendrons and azaleas while a walk in the native woodland will showcase the different types of woodland in the UK and will be carpeted with bluebells in April and May.

 

Kelmscott Manor Gardens

(near Lechlade, GL7 3HJ)
The arts and crafts garden is well worth a wander round when you’re visiting the house. The front garden is laid out from the drawing of the frontispiece in a William Morris book, the original owner, while the back is dominated by a mulberry tree which is just under 100 years old. A small orchard and a large meadow are delightful places to enjoy a spring stroll.

 

Buscot Park

(near Faringdon, SN7 8BU)
The pleasure gardens here are just that – a pleasure and time should be taken to enjoy them. The red brick walls of the original kitchen garden shelter the Four Seasons garden, resplendent with spring blooms. Woodland walks lead to a fine water garden while the front of the house features a carriage drive through mature woodland.

Pictures: National Trust

Have a look at our London and Surrey gardens if you’re thinking of going further afield

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