View Full Version : Gardens with flowers - which are your favourites?

Katherine T
08-06-2007, 04:36 AM
Flowers make great subjects - but we don't all grow the ones we want to draw or paint - so we visit gardens...

I've currently got a Gardens in Art project (http://akingamark.blogspot.com/2007/08/gardens-in-art-scope-and-resources.html) running on my blog and intend to be posting about some of my favourite gardens which are open to the public where I know I can find exceptional examples of flowers to photograph and or draw/paint.

It occurred to me that it might be useful for this Forum to have a resource thread where everybody nominated their favourite gardens. That way we'll all get to find out about new places to visit. Plus it'll be helpful if people are travelling and want to know what gardens exist in different areas.

Some suggestions for what it would be useful to know:
name of the garden - and where it is (plus details for getting there if possible)
website address if it has one - especially if it has good images of what the garden is like and details about what flowers can be found there.
best time of year to visit in your opinion.
scope for photography and/or artwork in the garden (eg do you need permission to bring in a tripod?)
post your own photo of the garden - and if you have more which can be viewed elsewhere let us know the URL.
any other resources for finding gardens which you've found useful (like the two sites below)Here's a couple of great generic sites to start with
the worldwide Gardens Guide (http://www.gardenvisit.com/m/ekey.htm) from gardenvisit.com (http://www.gardenvisit.com/)
the garden finder guide (http://www.ngs.org.uk/gen/garden_finder.aspx) from the National Gardens Scheme (http://www.ngs.org.uk/gen/default.aspx) in the UK (this is a scheme where mainly private gardens and some 'public' gardens open on one day a year with all proceeds going to support various charities. Some may open more than once). This is the online version of the famous 'yellow book' (http://www.ngs.org.uk/gen/shoponline.aspx).

08-06-2007, 03:26 PM
Great idea Katherine!

To be honest I don't get to visit gardens much, which is why I'm in the process of designing my own perfect garden!

I do like to visit the Chapter House garden of Hereford Cathedral, with tulips and magnolias in spring, hollyhocks, day lilies and cosmos in summer, all in a beautiful courtyard.

I want to see the gardens at Hergest Croft (http://www.hergest.co.uk/) next spring, apparently the display of rhododendrons and azelias is stunning.

Oh and I love to visit the garden of my friend Jaytee in Kington - it's in a wonderful setting, beautifully designed and full of specimen plants!


08-06-2007, 03:52 PM
Sounds like a great thread, Katherine.

I haven't been here in years, but went often when I was still living at my parents' home in Pennsylvania. It is a wonderful garden, developed by Pierre S. duPont and is called Longwood Gardens. (http://www.longwoodgardens.org) There are 1,050 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows to stroll through, as well as several ponds filled with water plants and conservatories with exotics like orchids.

It is located in Kennett Square, not far from the Brandywine Battlefield Park and Chadds Ford where the Wyeth Museum is.


Katherine T
08-06-2007, 04:27 PM
Great suggestions both of you - I can see this is going to throw up no end of places which will be added to my list of places to go and see! ;)

I've got Chadds Ford down on my list of places to try and get to - I went to the Farnsworth Museum (http://travsketch.blogspot.com/2006/10/saturday-23rd-september-farnsworth.html) in Rockland Maine last year and really enjoyed seeing all the work of the Wyeth clan. Great to know there's a good garden near to Chadds Ford - I've now got two jolly good reasons to try and visit.

Hi Ruth - I've heard there's a great garden at Hergest Croft and I very nearly got to it once. It's forever associated in my brain with Mike Oldfield and I have a terrible time remembering that the garden is Hergest Croft and not Hergest Ridge - but I guess we're talking about broadly the same place.

Is Hereford Cathedral the one that's got the Mappa Mundi? I went on a very wet summer's day and I don't remember the garden but will remember to take a look if I get there again.

08-06-2007, 04:41 PM
Hi Ruth - I've heard there's a great garden at Hergest Croft and I very nearly got to it once. It's forever associated in my brain with Mike Oldfield and I have a terrible time remembering that the garden is Hergest Croft and not Hergest Ridge - but I guess we're talking about broadly the same place.

Is Hereford Cathedral the one that's got the Mappa Mundi? I went on a very wet summer's day and I don't remember the garden but will remember to take a look if I get there again.

Right on both counts! :) Hergest Croft is just down the road from Jaytee's house too, so let me know if you're ever in this area again and I'm sure both JT and myself will try to meet up with you (and maybe you'll get a tour of JT's garden!)

The cathedral garden is small but beautifully formed, I have painted the main border twice, this is my favourite :)



Katherine T
08-06-2007, 04:56 PM
That looks like a great border.

I've got one which might be within striking distance of you which i visited for the first time in April this year.

Wollerton Old Hall Garden (http://www.wollertonoldhallgarden.com/) is in Rural Shropshire - just west of Market Drayton - and it's the nearest equivalent to Sissinghurst that I've ever seen (with the possible exception of Hidcote! ;)). It gets great write-ups and the flowers were spectacular. One of those gardens which you'd want to keep going back to, to check on what comes out in different months. This is a blog post (http://avelsketch.blogspot.com/2007/04/rill-garden-at-wollerton-old-hall.html) I did about it when I visited in April during that glorious Spring weather we had before "THE RAIN".

And this is how I developed the sketch which you see at the beginning of the Blog Post. The is The Rill Garden (http://akingamark.blogspot.com/2007/08/gardens-in-art-scope-and-resources.html) (and before you ask - those are Yew Balls!) It's 12" x 16" and is coloured pencil on a Art Spectrum Colourfix Plein Air Board.


08-06-2007, 05:04 PM
That looks beautiful Katherine, I don't have transport but if I get the chance it'll be on my list of places to see!

08-06-2007, 05:18 PM
What a great idea :)
I was at a Rose Garden in the Spring, in Palm Springs CA. I will post photos here when I get a chance.

Katherine that garden is just so beautiful. Boy you are good with those colored pencils.

Ruth- Very pretty paintings, is it watercolor?

08-07-2007, 04:31 AM
How about Arley Hall (http://www.arleyhallandgardens.com/)near Warrington where I do plein air (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=204598)every year.


Katherine T
08-07-2007, 05:48 AM
This is what Gertrude Jekyll (http://www.gertrudejekyll.co.uk/) (famous garden designer and writer) had to say about their spectacular herbaceous border which I remember very well from my own visits
'Through the length and breadth of England it would be hard to find borders of hardy flowers handsomer or in any way better done than those at Arley' Gertrude Jekyll ('Some English Gardeners' 1904)

This is the link to the gardens bit of the website (http://www.arleyhallandgardens.com/page13.asp)

08-07-2007, 09:24 AM
One of my favorite gardens is Cantigny Park in Wheaton IL. It is the former home of Colonel Robert McCormick. Because it is privately funded, it is amazing how many local folks in that area have never been there. They have a fabulous Art Show every fall and concerts all summer. In the Spring, there's an incredible new show of flowers nearly weekly. It's a must if you visit the Chicagoland area. (The men folk might like the military museum and children definately love to climb on the WWII tanks).


Upon his death in 1955, Colonel Robert McCormick had instructed in his will that the 500 acre estate at Cantigny be used in a manner that would be “… for the recreation, instruction and welfare of the people of the State of Illinois.” In 1967, the board of trustees overseeing the Cantigny Estate, hired one of the country’s foremost landscape architects, Franz Lipp, and charged him with the task of building an important American garden.
The garden consists of about forty acres. Showcased in the Garden is a very extensive use of herbaceous plants including annual and perennial flowers, ground covers and flowering bulbs and a wide variety of trees and shrubs displayed not only in complement to the floral areas, but in an arboretum setting as well. This combination makes for a horticultural masterpiece. What Lipp designed with his use of hardy plant material, is a Midwest Garden where both the amateur and professional landscape planner would have the opportunity to obtain valuable information on plant life. His purpose for the gardens was to provide a place for the testing of plants, demonstrating their growth habits, blooming periods, color qualities in composition with other plants, as well as their hardiness and life span in the climate of the Midwest.


...and then of course there is always Buchart Gardens in B.C. Canada.....

08-07-2007, 01:43 PM
Hi Katherine
I can add a few of my favorites
Closest to home here in Southern New Jersy is a wonderful place called Leamings Run (http://www.leamingsrungardens.com/AboutUs.asp).

I grew up in Norfolk Virginia... often visiting Azaelia Gardens which are now known as the Norfolk Botanical Gardens (http://www.norfolkbotanicalgarden.org/)

I've also been able to visit Longwood Gardens on several occasions as Sylvia mentioned..( always in tandem with a visit to the Wyeth Museum!!). It's about an hour and a half drive from here and well worth the effort.

Several years ago I took a trip up to Niagra Falls and spent a lovely afternoon at the Royal Botanical Gardens (http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.plantsgalore.com/gardens/canada/images/Hamilton-Royal-Bot-01.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.plantsgalore.com/gardens/canada/Canada_Royal_Bot_Hamilton.htm&h=675&w=1019&sz=56&hl=en&start=8&tbnid=NZB5KtHo9TNrYM:&tbnh=99&tbnw=150&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dcanada%2Bgardens%2Bnear%2Btoronto%26gbv%3D2%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26ie%3DUTF-8)outside of Toronto, Canada.

Oh and last year I was able to to visit Edith Wharton's Country Estate "The Mount" (http://www.edithwharton.org/) up in Massachusetts. Beautiful Formal gardens there as well.

I just have to mention Central Park in New York City, which I've yet to see even half of. It was designed by Landscape Architect Frederick Law Olmstead, (http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/b/be/FLOlmstead.jpg/200px-FLOlmstead.jpg&imgrefurl=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Law_Olmsted&h=225&w=200&sz=8&hl=en&start=20&tbnid=NGLcGotvIG1AeM:&tbnh=108&tbnw=96&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dfrederick%2Blaw%2Bolmstead%2Bw%26gbv%3D2%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG%26ie%3DUTF-8) a hero in my garden/park book. I like to think that we're related somewhere back in the histories of my Scottish ancestory. I mean how many Law's could there be?
Lastly there is my most favorite garden of all ..and the only one I've painted: my own little half acre yard ! I actually ascribe to some of Olmsteads ideas about creating a natural looking enviroment through controlled plantings...I like everything to look like it grew spontaniously. Not that I wouldn't love to visit England's very formal and wonderful gardens. Someday perhaps...and then of course on to Japan!

Can you tell I'm passionate about gardening?

08-16-2007, 05:56 AM
What a wonderful thread.......

Katherine.. you are welcome here any time... 2 guest bedrooms :) And other good gardens too.....
Will add them to the thread when I have a moment to fish out photos....

Ruth....... time we visited Shropshire ;)

Katherine T
08-26-2007, 07:58 AM

I visited Great Comp Garden (http://www.greatcomp.co.uk/) in Kent yesterday. I found it through Essential British Gardens (http://www.gardenarena.co.uk/) - which is a very welcome addition to my squidoo lens for Gardens in Art. It organises gardens according to regions/countries of the UK and Ireland

Great Comp Garden is large but not enormous. However, it does have a huge collection of salvias plus looks as if it will be absolutely amazing when the magnolias are out - lots of mature and large specimens to be seen. Lots of rhodie and azalea bushes too - so I think a revist next spring/early summer will be on the agenda.

Charlie's Mum
08-26-2007, 04:06 PM
Not forgetting Monet's Garden in Giverny - if any of you get to France ... it's well worth a visit.
Monet's Garden (http://giverny.org/gardens/fcm/visitgb.htm)

The Water Garden and all the flower borders are really much nicer than on this website!

Llis, a former Administrator here also put her own photos of Giverny into the RIL.