Take a stroll via the Kitchen Gardens and Orchards to see our newest blossoming garden springing to life.

View from above

Our new Four Seasons Garden was designed to inspire, delight and capture your imagination year-round. Usually, a garden makes compromises to offer something blooming every month, while here, we decided to create a collection of ornamental gardens, each optimised for spring, summer, autumn or winter. The result is a glorious simultaneous flush at that particular moment in time.

The spring garden is the biggest of the four and features a central lily pond, reflecting the surrounding Japanese cherry trees bursting with soft white and pink blossom. Visitors are encouraged to look closely at the pebble work in the pond for some secret messages left by its creators. The water lends a sense of calm and serenity; its continual movement a reference to the liminal nature of the passage of time. With a large lawned area segmented by rills, it’s the perfect spot to play and picnic as the weather warms. 

Look out for grazing sheep in the orchards

Sheepfolds to either side are planted with wildflowers and home to a series of beehives on shelves for our stripey friends to pollinate the gardens and orchards. Stone sheep are incorporated into one of the walls – echoing new lambs gambolling in adjacent fields – with the spaces acting as a ‘reset’ before taking in the delights of the next garden.

While the romantic beauty of roses in bloom in the summer garden and fiery colour in the arboretum of the autumn garden are a little while off yet, there’s much to take in on any seasonal stroll. Visitors of all ages can spot Peter Pan (and Hook’s nemesis Tick-Tock) and explore the marsh garden with its vast Newt-shaped pond and outdoor fish tank.

To live will be an awfully big adventure” Peter Pan

Linking the gardens is a series of flowering walkways and tunnels, anchored by pergola gateways covered in fragrant star jasmine at either end. Wander through the fleeting splendour of the magnolia walk, admire the golden glow of the laburnum tunnel and breathe spectacularly scented wisteria bursting soon – all underplanted with highly fragrant perennials in complementary hues. 

The winter garden is perhaps the most surprising of them all – set to beguile, with its snow white gravel set against the sculptural topiary shapes of the dark yews. It speaks of eternal winter, with a sprinkling of magic; somewhere you might find on a trip through Lucy’s wardrobe or on Alice’s adventures in Wonderland. 

There’s also a seasonally changing exhibition space with a secret garden feel, surrounded by clipped hornbeam hedges with a built-in door and window openings to peek through. For spring, it’s planted with a colourful mix of Narcissus ‘Julia Jane’, Tulipa polychroma and Fritillaria imperialis ‘Early Fantasy’. 

Be sure to make a beeline to The Hive café on the south-east side, given a new lease of life after its starring role at last year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. You’ll find the perfect cosy spot for cheering sustenance, whatever the weather. It’s a truly one of a kind garden; ever evolving, and captivating, as the seasons change.

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