Welcome to the quintessentially English landscape garden! You probably already know what the essence of the English garden is – unlike the formal and symmetrical French garden, the English ones are more natural. I always thought of quaint little tudor cottages surrounded by endless amount of colourful flowers, all happily mixed together. And yes, that is what typical cottages gardens are about, and then some more.
The English landscape garden represents an ideal view of the garden pictured in pretty little paintings – typically comprising of a lake and a stream, sweeping lawns on rolling hills with beautiful trees and shrubs as a backdrop. With the amount of rain falling in England, that means a lush landscapes in a hundred shades of green. Recreations of classic-looking temples, statues, gothic ruins and bridges also belong to the classic English landscape garden. And who could forget about the flowers, often planted in layers to have bloom all throughout the season either with an explosion of colour, or in gently colour-coordinated areas with lined, gravelled walkways criss-crossing and leading from one themed garden area to another .
No trip to England is truly complete outside the winter season without a visit at least to Hampton Court Palace in the outskirts of London, or some other stately countryside home with lavish English gardens. These gardens truly are for the enjoyment of all senses: listening the birds chirping and bees humming, admiring the beautifully landscaped surroundings and smelling the blooming flowers – and of course a garden tour is always completed with a tea in the tea-room, or a picnic in the meadows, complete with chocolate-coated strawberries, scones and a bottle of the bubbly, or dry English cider.
As there are hundreds and hundreds of amazing gardens to see in England it is important to decide first what it is you want to see the most: formal and symmetric gardens with skillfully clipped topiary, secret walled gardens described in the childhood books, imaginative Palladian temples scattered around rolling hills, and white peacocks strolling along lily-filled lakes, wild meadows and orchards – or possibly an estate that is a combination of all that and more.
The time of year is also crucial for selecting the perfect destination – for me the highlight of spring gardens would include those with wild meadows filled with bluebells and daffodils, whereas for late summer I would go for explosion of scents in the famous rose gardens.Autumn would be the perfect time to visit one of the moated castle ruins surrounded by bright foliage- catching a burning sunset in a cool evening with the mist rising from the moat is one of the most breathtaking moments I can think of.
The English landscape gardens are something special- a mystery waiting to be explored. You can find temples, grottos and pavilions in unexpected places, get lost in mazes, relax by rowing on a lake, wander amongst flocks of sheep or a herd of deer, just let your imagination run and have fun. Walk down the path where Winston Churchill went in his time, or maybe follow the hunting trail of Henry the VIII or Anne Boleyn – the possibilities are endless. Enjoy the beauty passed on generation after generation in these well-tended, or more wild English gardens!
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