GRAVETYE MANOR (West Sussex), William Robinson’s former home and now a hotel, is closed for refurbishment until April 2011. The gardens, under the direction of new head gardener Tom Coward, are undergoing restoration, with original features being reinstated and the walled kitchen garden being re-planted with a classical design.
THE OLD RECTORY, MIXBURY (Northamptonshire), the family home of garden designer Angela Collins, has been sold and is sadly no longer open to visitors.
LEONARDSLEE (West Sussex), one of England’s finest gardens, which has been in the Loder farmily since 1889, is under new ownership. Be sure to visit now before its gates close for the forseeable future on 1 July – for details consult www.leonardsleegardens.com.
CHERKLEY COURT (Surrey), where the gardens have been beautifully and sensitively remodelled by Simon Johnson, is sadly passing into private ownership. They will open for a final hurrah on Bank Holiday Monday, 3 May, 10.30am – 4.30pm, with teas and coffees served in the orangery. www.cherkleycourt.com.
CHENIES MANOR (Bucks) has won the coveted Garden of the Year award for 2009, sponsored by the Historic Houses Association and Christie’s and now in its 26th year. Edward Harley, president of HHA, referred to the 50 years of dedicated work put in by Elizabeth MacLeod Matthews, her late husband and her family to creating and developing ‘the beautiful gardens on this historic site’. The award will be made on 24 June. www.cheniesmanorhouse.co.uk.
LADY FARM (Somerset) is open after all in 2010 – for details phone 01751 490770 or consult www.ladyfarm.co.uk – and for parties by appointment from June to October. The garden has acquired a new vegetable garden, designed in a pattern of four beds by Judy Pearce for her husband, who’s a fervent grower and shower of organic garden produce. www.ladyfarm.co.uk.
HOLT FARM (Somerset) – amended details. The garden will be opening 17 June – 30 September, Thursdays, 2 – 5pm, and for parties by appointment (email email@example.com or phone 01761 461650). The entrance charge is £4, children under 16 free. www.theorganicgardens.co.uk.
At HOLKHAM HALL (Norfolk) the walled Victorian kitchen garden will reopen to visitors from 1 April. The 6.5 acres have been divided into eight compartments filled with rare and unusual species. www.holkhamhall.co.uk.
CONSALL HALL (Staffordshire) will be open on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Monday, then the first Sunday, Monday and Wednesday each month until October; all 10am – 5pm. Also open by appt at other times, and groups of 50 or more can book an exclusive tour including a meal or buffet for £12.95 a head. www.consallgardens.co.uk.
THE HIMALAYAN GARDEN (Yorkshire) hosts its first 150-piece sculpture exhibition in the garden and in a covered exhibition space, by sculptors from the UK, Europe and the USA, 24 April – 13 June, open Tuesday – Sunday and bank holiday Mondays, 10am-4pm. www.himalayangarden.com.
TREMENHEERE SCULPTURE GARDEN (Cornwall) opens this year on 1 May with a rare plant fair supplied by nurseries from the south west. Food stalls and cream teas included. For the rest of the summer, it opens on weekends, 10am-5pm. www.tremenheere.co.uk.
SEATON DELAVAL HALL (Northumberland) is now in the care of the National Trust, and Terry Hewison, who worked for the late Lord and Lady Hastings for more than 25 years, is fortunately continuing in post as the garden develops to accommodate increased visitor numbers over a longer season. The garden will open throughout the year from 1 May, Friday – Monday, 11am – 5pm (closes 3pm November to March). Charges are £4.40 for adults and £2.20 for children. A full new report will appear in the next edition of the Guide. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/seatondelaval.
COTTESBROOKE HALL (Northamptonshire) stages its third annual Plant Finders Fair, in association with Gardens Illustrated, 25 - 27 June, 10am – 5.30pm. The charge is £7.50 for adults, children free, and stalls include specialist nurseries, garden accessories, traditional crafts and a plant swap, and there’s a Punch and Judy show for the kids. James Alexander-Sinclair, Dan Pearson and Alys Fowler will be giving talks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively, bookable on a first come, first served basis on the relevant day. www.cottesbrookehall.co.uk.