Branklyn Garden, Perth

Branklyn Garden is surely one of Scotland’s national treasures. Its eccentricities start before you’ve even got there. For although it’s in Perth – a wonderfully central and connected city, it’s quite a tricky little number to locate even for your top notch Sat Nav. (Basically head over the river as though you’re going to Scone Palace but turn left instead of right and then it’s just off to the left.) You’ve got to work for it. Even when you’ve parked your car (for free) you still have another 70 metres or so to totter before you find this wonderful...

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Parham House Gardens

I defy anyone not feel happier after a visit to Parham House Gardens in Pulborough, West Sussex. The sense of well-being starts as soon as you pull off the A283, drive in through the main gates and weave your way down through the historic parkland, a mosaic of downland, bracken and veteran trees opening up to an uplifting view of the South Downs in which this Elizabethan house and garden nestle. The bonhomie continues with the welcome you get as you park on the springy turf (no trace of twentieth century tarmac here) and make your way through the...

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Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh – it sounds impressive and given the complexity of its funding masters (and its structure – RBGE actually comprises four gardens in Scotland), the Edinburgh garden does a jolly good job of fulfilling expectations. Fact: it’s big – 70 acres. You can spend a good afternoon getting round it – and it’s completely free to go in! You’ll enjoy the walk from the city centre – 30 minutes or so will do it, handy since there isn’t a car park  – but it’s fairly easy to get onto a meter on one of the...

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King John’s Lodge – East Sussex

Every once in a while you come across a place with a timeless air about it – not flashy or cutting-edge, but with a calm, gracious look of antiquity and love about it that grabs your heart.  That’s King John’s Lodge in Etchingham. It’s plonk in the middle of East Sussex off the A21. The house is a Grade II listed Jacobean manor restored by the present owners and the garden opens regularly for the National Garden Scheme.  The garden with its rose walk, wild pond, meadow areas etc. is not full of ‘specimens’ – but has a lived-in, relaxed feel, with hundreds of cranesbills jostling...

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