My love affair with English gardens

It all started in 2001 with a 10 week home exchange.  Our youngest daughter was two and a half,  so we decided to give this a try as we felt having an actual home to go to at the end of the day would be better than a hotel.  She took to England like a duck to water, even developing a slight english accent by the time we came home.  

Our first home exchange was near Salisbury in Wiltshire. 


Our sweet little thatched cottage in Wilshire was the perfect base for exploring some of the most famous British gardens.  One of the first gardens we visited was Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire.


Mottisfont Abby was stunning in June 2001.


Houghton Lodge Gardens near Stockbridge in Hampshire was also nearby and we visited this one several times.  As I look at my gardens today, I know it had a huge influence on my plant choices.   



Gorgeous clipped box parterre at Houghton Lodge Gardens 2001.


Hidcote Manor Garden near Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire is a perfect showcase for British Arts and Crafts garden design.  It was spectacular! 


Magnificent planting ideas in these blowsy, cheek by jowl plantings at Hidcote. I could have stayed for days.


We visited Hidcote Manor and Kiftsgate Court Gardens in the same day.  It was mind blowing! It was hot and sunny, hence the hats.  Victoria wouldn't wear hers unless I wore one too. 


This is a lesser known garden but remains one of our favourites.  This is the stunning Coton Manor Garden in Northhamptonshire. As I view these images, I can see influences from all of these gardens in the gardens I was to create back in Canada. 


The house and garden are so sweetly entwined at Coton Manor.


I mean, come on!  This herb garden was pure perfection!

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This surreal garden is Cothay Manor and it was difficult to find in the summer of 2002 without a GPS. It was so worth the adventure in finding it.  I could have stayed there forever.

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This courtyard had the wild overgrown look I adore.  

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Cothay Manor, you are magical! 


Who can visit the gardens of England and not want to visit Hilltop Farm in the Lake District, the country home of Beatrix Potter.  You will feel like you have stepped into a storybook.  


These are just a few of the gardens we have visited and some of my lifelong favourites and inspirations. xo

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