With this month’s Chelsea Flower Show (19-23 May) in full bloom, The Best You picks the finest gardens to add a little magic to your own patch of green
- Hampton Court Palace
Celebrating its 500th year, Hampton Court Palace has more than 60 acres of gardens, along with a grapevine planted in 1768 by Capability Brown and an amazing maze over a third of an acre that has to be explored. Don’t miss the amazing bluebells, which are in bloom this month.
- The Lost Gardens of Heligan
Created by the Cornish Tremayne family from the mid-18th century as part of the family’s Heligan estate, the gardens were neglected after the First World War and restored in the 1990s. Colossal rhododendrons and camellias, sub-tropical tree ferns and two figures made from rocks and plants known as the Mud Maid and the Giant’s Head are all part of the experience.
- Beth Chatto Gardens
From overgrown wasteland to a seven-acre horticultural haven, Beth Chatto has perfected the art of gardening against the elements.. The site had previously been considered too dry in places, too wet in others, and left to grow wild with brambles. Beth Chatto’s inspired planting has created an oasis that continues to inspire.
Capability Brown played his part in the creation of the formal gardens of this stately home which feature stunning fountains that date back 300 years. With more than five miles of walks to enjoy, plus a rose, cottage and kitchen gardens there are also some stunning sculptures that blend art and horticulture seamlessly.
- Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kew Gardens houses the world’s largest collection of living plants. Founded in 1840, today there are treetop walkways to enjoy, a stunning bridge, The Sackler Crossing, made of granite and bronze, to take in views of the lake, along with numerous plant houses to marvel at.
For a regal touch, a trip to the private country home of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall is an unmissable tick on every aspiring gardener’s list. Fully organic, with a blend of formal gardens and wildflower meadows, book ahead for a two-hour, two-mile guided tour.