Celebrating the past and forging the future of England’s finest gardens

The Treasure Houses of England feature some of the most beautiful and historic Formal Gardens and Parkland in England.

The Treasure Houses of England feature some of the most beautiful and historic Formal Gardens and Parkland in England.

However as well as showcasing the finest traditions of English country house gardening, all 10 of these iconic properties are also as the forefront of modern garden design; utilising their unique open spaces to stage everything from cutting-edge art exhibitions and live music events to theatrical performances and gardening workshops.

In recent years estate’s like Blenheim Palace have had their formal gardens transformed by the addition of contemporary art exhibitions on a grand scale.

Last year they hosted a major exhibition by influential Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto, and later this year renowned contemporary American artist Jenny Holzer is creating a series of new installations as part of a solo exhibition at Blenheim Palace.

With the interest in gardening literally growing year on year, many of the Treasure Houses are also hosting their own flower and garden shows, with Chatsworth hosting its first ever RHS show in the summer (June 7th-11th).

The rolling parkland and formal gardens are also perfect locations to stage a huge variety of events ranging from triathlons and fun runs to concerts and car shows.

In addition to celebrating their rich horticultural heritage; including last year’s celebrations of the 300th anniversary of the birth of ‘Capability’ Brown, many of the houses are also now encouraging their own gardeners to create new and exciting modern gardens for visitors to enjoy.

“All of the Treasure Houses have a rich horticultural history which we are extremely proud of,” said Stephen Munn, Chair of Treasure Houses Managers.

“However it’s vital these outdoor spaces remain relevant and productive in the 21st century so we are constantly looking at new and innovative ways to make use of them.

“In addition to being the backdrop for a host of special events and activities; ranging from art workshops to major live concerts, our members are also increasingly looking to their own team of gardeners to create new and contemporary outdoor spaces for modern visitors to enjoy.

“Our aim is to build on our rich legacy and ensure all of the Treasure Houses continue to celebrate the very best of the past while embracing the exciting potential of new methods and gardening techniques for the future,” he added.

Below is a list of what’s on offer at each of the 10 Treasure Houses of England in 2017:

Visitors to Beaulieu can sniff out the fragrant Victorian Flower Garden, explore the informal Wilderness Garden, dating back to the 1770s and enjoy the Ornamental Kitchen Garden laid out on the site of the original 1872 Palace House kitchen garden.

Visitors can also take a leisurely stroll along the meandering pathways beside Beaulieu River and Monks’ Mill Pond. A new topiary display features Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with topiary characters sitting around their ‘thyme for tea’ herb-planted table.

The ever-popular Blenheim Palace Flower Show returns for its fifth year, 23rd-25th June. This wonderful three-day show will be officially opened by gardening guru Alan Titchmarsh.

The Grand Floral Pavilion will be full of the UK’s finest nurseries and growers offering expert advice and ideas. The shopping village will feature an abundance of trade stands selling everything from unique garden gazebos, greenhouses and arbours to beautiful flowers, gardening sundries and hundreds of other products from over 250 of the UK’s leading exhibitors. Visitors can also explore the beautiful Formal Gardens and ‘Capability’ Brown Parkland.

Burghley’s gardens and parkland were largely designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in the 18th century. Today, sweeping vistas down to the spires of Stamford with the backdrop of the House create the perfect canvas for open air concerts, wedding receptions, events or just a quiet stroll with the dog.

The main visitor gardens are the Garden of Surprises and the Sculpture Garden. Following the success of its Beastly Boring Burghley children’s guidebook and tours comes their new Gruesomely Grubby Gardens – enjoy spotting the sculptures and understanding how they were made, discover the grubby insects and gruesome animals that live in the garden and solve the puzzles inside.

With 1,000 acres to explore, Castle Howard is a haven of peace and tranquility with extensive woodland walks, temples, lakes and fountains. The monumental landscape offers breathtaking views at every turn, taking in the countryside of the Howardian Hills, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Walk the informal parkland dotted with statues and temple, take in the formal gardens and meander through woodland or along lakeside terraces. From March to October free daily outdoor tours take place covering a range of topics including The Walled Garden, The Temple of the Four Winds, 20th Century Landscape and Waterways.

Famous for its rich history, historic and modern waterworks and sculptures, its Victorian rock garden and maze, there is something for everyone in the 105-acre Chatsworth Garden. Explore the re-designed Trout Stream which provided inspiration for the Best Show Garden at the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, wander the Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown landscape, and celebrate all things floral at the first ever RHS Chatsworth Flower Show partnered by Wedgwood (June 7th-11th).

Harewood boasts 120 acres of award winning gardens and grounds. The formal Terrace sits on the southern aspect of the house overlooking 1,000 acres of unspoiled Capability Brown landscape. In spring, the informal Himalayan Garden is alive with vibrant pink, yellow and orange primulas. Summer brings with it stunning displays in the herbaceous borders on the Terrace.

In 2017, the planting scheme here will reflect Victorian taste and style mirroring the Victorian Harewood exhibition programme in the House.

The garden at Hatfield House dates from the early 17th century when Robert Cecil employed John Tradescant the Elder. Enjoy the Sundial Garden, West Parterre and Old Palace Garden adjoining the Tudor Palace Tuesday to Sunday. Lord and Lady Salisbury’s private East Garden is also open to visitors each Wednesday from 11am-5pm. It consists of formal box beds in front of the house and the seventeenth century ‘New Pond’.

Join one of the tours of the private gardens at Holkham Hall on throughout the year. See the spectacular arboretum with its many unusual and rare specimen trees and stroll around the 19th century formal parterres designed by W.A. Nesfield. Or visit the vast 18th century walled garden to see the project to restore them to their former glory.

The 12th century moated Leeds Castle is set within 500 acres of beautiful grounds in the heart of the garden of England. Last year the gardeners developed the Castle Island Gardens to create an ancient feel with traditional flowers such as marigolds, roses and lavenders. By contrast the Barbican Mill rockery boasts flora and fauna from around the world with Turkish bulbs and Australian ferns.

Created by Russell Page, the Culpeper Garden has an informal layout and low box hedges as a border featuring roses, lupins and poppies to create a profusion of colour and scent. The Lady Baillie Mediterranean Garden is Head Gardener Andrew McCoryn’s must-visit garden with palm trees, bananas and cacti along a three hundred metre-long border.

When the 6th Duke inherited Woburn he commissioned Humphry Repton, the famous landscape gardener, to produce designs for improving the gardens and park. Now, over 200 years later, you can still enjoy his designs and the restoration of Repton’s original Pleasure Ground.

View the stunning Chinese Dairy, which is the only structure of its kind in the UK, designed by Henry Holland in 1787 for the 5th Duke of Bedford. Enjoy views over the bog garden, discover the Camellia House and see what’s growing in our kitchen garden.

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