Beautiful English Gardens, by Andy McIndoe

With Covid restrictions gradually easing many of us are eager to start visiting beautiful gardens again, so it was very timely for Grayshott Gardeners to welcome Andy McIndoe to our zoom screens, to give us an inspirational tour of some of the most beautiful gardens England has to offer.

As Andy demonstrated, England has a wealth of beautiful gardens, with a huge variety of styles. Our temperate climate gives us the charms of four distinct seasons to enjoy, each with their own moments of magic.  Winter, which often used to be ignored by gardeners, is now a season which is celebrated by many gardens planted specifically for winter interest.  The colours and light of autumn, the unfurling excitement of spring and the extravagance of summer mean that all seasons have their attractions, and clever gardeners can make the most of all of them.

Andy began his tour at home, showing us areas of his own garden near Romsey, and explaining how he had developed the space.  He emphasised the importance of evaluating your garden from the point you see it most often – this is where your major decisions should be made.  In reality, most of us make decisions whilst wandering round the garden, not whilst looking at it from where we normally view it.

He then explored some of the classic English gardens like Hidcote, Great Dixter and Sissinghurst.  He observed that the passage of time is a fourth dimension for a garden; structure matures to give an atmosphere and weight that we see today, and their creators never saw.  When we admire these gardens we are enjoying someone else’s legacy.

Andy took us round Prairie gardens, wildflower meadows, rose gardens and plant lovers gardens, all beautifully illustrated with his own photographs.  His talk really celebrated the diversity of the thousands of gardens that welcome visitors in our country. 

However, he left us with the thought that the garden that you should enjoy the most is your own – if it appeals to you then you’ve got it right!