Of course, it’s not the same, but for a dash of spectacular spring colour, there are still some gardens where you can “take a stroll” and boost your spirits – albeit virtually.
Just kick-back in front of your desktop, tablet, smartphone or smart TV and enjoy a bit of “me time”, taking-in the dazzling floral displays, world famous horticultural collections and glorious parkland of some of the country’s top gardens…
Soar above a world-famous garden
Hampshire’s Exbury Gardens – with more than 100 years of horticultural excellence – offers a chance for ‘visitors’ to not only take a stroll, but also enjoy beautiful aerial views of the 200-acre woodland garden on the edge of the Beaulieu River. The inspiration of Lionel Nathan de Rothschild, of the famous banking family, whose vision and resources created one of the country’s finest woodland gardens, you can still see the gardens, courtesy of Marie-Louise Agius, his great grand-daughter who is posting regular videos from the Gardens. Fantastic drone footage includes amazing footage revealing the depth and breadth of the tree canopy, while another shows the Rhododendron ’Southamptonia’ in full flower in front of the main house – part of Exbury’s world-famous Rothschild collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare trees and shrubs. In addition to these horticultural treats, look out for Willow the dog enjoying the gardens, too! Check out @exburygardens on Instagram. To find out more about the gardens and to plan a future visit, see www.exbury.co.uk.
See Lincolnshire’s very own “lost gardens”
Easton Walled Gardens – owned by the Cholmeley family for over 400 years – is an ancient 12 acre garden restored from a wilderness after laying derelict for half a century. A garden 450 years in the making, for 50 years the gardens were abandoned to nature until work began in 2001 to restore them to their former historical importance, but with contemporary twists. Now this classic English old garden can be enjoyed from your own home – with daily videos being posted by Lady Ursula Cholmeley, who has led the restoration, which still continues year on year with innovative new planting schemes. As well as bringing the colour and beauty of the gardens and parkland into your own home, the Garden Diary videos also include some behind the scenes snippets about the planting and the estate’s history from Lady Ursula herself. Catch the videos at @ewgardens on Instagram and discover more about the gardens at www.visiteaston.co.uk.
Spring has sprung in Staffordshire
Trentham Gardens, one of England’s most popular paid-for gardens, is aiming to bring its biggest Spring Bulb Festival Festival to the web – in the hope of bringing a little more colour into people’s living rooms. Time-lapse cameras are set to be installed within the historic gardens, offering a chance for virtual visitors to get their garden fix without leaving their homes. Trentham’s talented team of gardeners have been busy throughout autumn adding more than 130,000 extra bulbs, including another 26,000 bulbs in the Upper Flower Garden displays, and 27,000 bulbs to the ‘Sunny Meadows’ perennial mix – to create a riot of colour this spring. As well as the new camera views, Trentham is also posting favourite photos of the gardens – and the ever-popular trail of fairy sculptures – on its social media channels, while the website will also have family fun downloadable activities too. Keep an eye on @TrenthamGardens on twitter, @trenthamgardens on Instagram, or see www.trentham.co.uk.
Several other popular gardens are also posting short Instagram videos featuring their own favourite horticultural highlights including:
Leicestershire’s Belvoir Castle, the family home of the Duke and Duchess of Rutland with spectacular views across the Vale of Belvoir – which is part of Hidden England (www.hiddenengland.org) – with a tranquil video montage of its picturesque woodland and gardens.
Lincolnshire’s Doddington Hall and Gardens, a family home that has never been sold since it was built in 1595 by one of England’s foremost Elizabethan architects, with videos featuring the Kitchen Garden and a spot of virtual Hanami (Japanese for “flower viewing”) with beautiful cherry blossom walks.
Easton Walled Gardens
Trentham Bulb Festival