We started our trip in London, visiting Hampton Court Palace, the Sky Garden, Westminster Abbey, Eltham Palace, and the Chelsea Flower Show. From there we rented a car at Heathrow and travelled southeast to visit the first of our week of garden touring.
Savill garden was created in the 1930’s by former owner Eric Savill. It is now run as a part of the the Crown Estates. The rose garden is a relatively recent addition, planted in 2010. This garden is divided into different area including a Bog garden with enormous Gunnera, an Azalea walk, the summer gardens which include the rose garden a herbaceous borders, and more.
Painshill is an 18th century landscape garden created by Charles Hamilton. This is a large garden in a man-made landscape, there are meandering paths around a lake, that was dug out and engineered to be fed by an adjoining river. Hamilton had an image of creating living painting in his landscape. He designed a number of follies to visit along the route including a grotto tiled with crystals.
Munstead Wood is the home and business garden of Gertrude Jekyll. This garden is held in private hands and as such is available to tour by appointment with the head gardener. This is a garden that is lucky to be in existence at all. It was sold in three parcels after her death, the gardens were grassed in the 1950’s by a subsequent owner. The most recent owners have recovered the original gardens along with their neighbors. From the tour we discovered the garden functioned very much as a show garden for Jekyll’s clients, she had a trial garden area, and she sold plants and seeds from the potting shed. Almost ironically the garden looks similar to how it would have been in her lifetime because of the effects of man.