Garden of the Year 2019: The Nominees

  • 22 Aug 2019
  • Article

The deadline for voting for Garden of the Year 2019 is getting close and, at the time of writing, there have been over 4,000 votes cast. This week we take a look at each of the eight glorious estates nominated for the 2019 award and give you a flavour of just why they've been deservedly nominated.

Belvoir Castle

Vale of Belvoir, near Grantham, Lincolnshire NG32 1PE

Belvoir Castle gardens for Historic Houses Garden of the Year 2019
© Belvoir Castle

Over the centuries, Belvoir’s formal gardens have undergone several major changes, with most Duchesses leaving their mark. Elizabeth (5th Duchess of Rutland) commissioned the Rev Sir John Thoroton to terrace the gardens in 1815 – and later on, Violet the 8th Duchess commissioned the renowned Edwardian garden designer Harold Peto (1854-1933) to create the gardens we know and love today.

The striking statue of ‘Winter‘ by Caius Gabriel Cibber (1630-1700) presides over the Rose Garden, and in the Statue Garden there are six more statues by Cibber – ‘Spring‘, ‘Autumn‘ and ‘Summer‘, two statues representing the senses of smell and taste, and finally ‘Juno’ with her peacock insignia (taken from the Manners family crest).

The original garden plans drawn up by Harold Peto have only recently been rediscovered in the Castle archives. These reveal that the Rose Garden is shaped like a boat, with the Chinese horse at the bow, and the circular seat at the stern – classic hallmarks of Peto.

The roses you’ll see in the garden today were planted by Emma, the current Duchess of Rutland. And if you look over the low yew hedge, you’ll see two box parterres with the initials ‘D’ and ‘E’ in the middle, for ‘David’ (the 11th and current Duke) and ‘Emma’.

When can I visit it?

The Castle is open Mondays to Saturdays in August, and on Saturdays in September from 11.00am – 5.00pm with the Ticket Office opening at 10.30am and last admission is at 4.00pm. Entry to the garden only is £12, or visit as a Historic Houses member for free. Find out more about joining Historic Houses here.

Find out more about Belvoir Castle here, or vote for Belvoir here.

Cambo Gardens

Kingsbarns, St Andrews, Fife KY16 8QD

Cambo House Gardens for Historic Houses Garden of the Year 2019
© Cambo House Gardens

Cambo’s 2.5 acre walled garden dates from the 1800’s and their visitors keep describing it as ‘stunning’! They endeavour to create areas of year round interest and the garden is constantly changing, developing and innovating through the passions of their horticulture team. From early interest in their winter gardens (highlighting our Plant Heritage national collection of snowdrops) through to their late season naturalistic plantings and prairie garden (unique in Scotland!) there is always a reason to visit Cambo.

From August their double herbaceous borders are reaching their flowering peak in rich reds, purples and blues. Cambo's annual potager provides a place for experimentation and planting innovation – often flowering from August right through to late November.

A contemporary cutting garden is in development, and their edible garden and orchard provides produce for the café and shop.

When can I visit?

Cambo Gardens is open dail from 10am.

Find out more about Cambo Gardens here, or vote for Cambo Gardens here.

Cholmondeley Castle Gardens

Malpas, Cheshire, SY14 8AH

Cholmondeley Castle Gardens for Historic Houses Garden of the Year 2019
© Cambo House Gardens

The gardens you see today are the life’s work of Lady Lavinia Cholmondeley, who has transformed the gardens over a 60 year period following her arrival at Cholmondeley in the late 1940’s.

Prior to her arrival the garden was largely under developed with mature trees, sweeping lawns and water courses running through the southern half of the garden and leading to the Temple water garden which was the only area that had been extensively landscaped previously.

The rose garden and tennis court were the first projects to be undertaken in the early 1950’s and from there the garden was developed section by section with the Duckery being the last big project in 2006. The acidic sandy soil at Cholmondeley is perfect for Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Magnolias and Camellias of which we have fine collections. Adding to that a unique selection of trees and a natural rhythm to the planting make the garden enticing at any time of year. A talented plantswoman it is Lady Cholmondeley’s passion, drive and keen eye for detail that have shaped this garden into one of England’s finest.

When can I visit?

The Gardens are open to the public on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.  Please visit their website page for details of forthcoming events and amendments to opening days. Entry to the garden only is £8.50, or visit as a Historic Houses member for free. Find out more about joining Historic Houses here.

Find out more about Cholmondeley Castle Gardens here, or vote for Cholmondeley Castle Gardens here.

Forde Abbey

Chard, Somerset TA20 4LU

Forde Abbey Gardens for Historic Houses Garden of the Year 2019
© Forde Abbey

Home to the highest powered fountain in the country, the award-winning gardens include topiary lined vistas, colourful herbaceous borders, an arboretum, a bog garden, which together with swathes of early Spring bulbs and camellias provide all year round interest. Designed to incorporate both the formal and informal aspects of garden design, the straight lines give way to meandering pathways the further you head away from the house, with plenty of benches and seating to admire the views along the way.

A garden is never the finished article, but more like a chapter that is constantly being written, re-written and edited to shape the flow and style of the narrative. It has slowly evolved over 900 years to reflect the lifestyle and taste of each generation living there. You can read the full history of Forde Abbey's extraordinary gardens here.

When can I visit?

Open daily from 10.00am to 5.30pm with last admission an hour before closing time. Entry to the garden only is £10.00, or visit as a Historic Houses member for free. Find out more about joining Historic Houses here.

Find out more about Forde Abbey here, or vote for Forde Abbey here.

Great Dixter

Northiam, near Rye, East Sussex TN31 6PH

Great Dixter House & Gardens for Historic Houses Garden of the Year 2019
© Great Dixter House & Gardens

The garden is managed in the same way as in Christopher Lloyd’s time. They go for high-impact visual displays but also intimacy in their combinations. All of this is within the strong infrastructure of buildings, garden hedges and landscaped trees. Wildflower meadows continue to flow into the garden and are cut twice a year after the seeds are set.

The trees within the meadows are allowed to grow in a natural state without too much interaction from pruning. The borders are mixed plantings of trees, shrubs, perennials, biennials, annuals and climbers. the trees and shrubs give us structure, the perennials give us our main season along with self-sowing biennials that soften the picture. Everything is underplanted with bulbs, with pockets of annuals and ephemerals that stretch the display from spring through to autumn. Great Dixter have an extensive amount of information about the planting, design and maintenance of the gardens on their website here.

When can I visit?

Open 30th March to 27th October 2019, Tuesday to Sunday and bank holiday Mondays (closed all other Mondays). Gardens: 11am to 5pm (last admission). House: 1pm to 4pm only. Entry to the garden only is £11.00, or visit as a Historic Houses member for free. Find out more about joining Historic Houses here.

Find out more about Great Dixter here, or vote for Great Dixter House & Gardens here.

Kiftsgate Court Gardens

Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire GL55 6LN

Kiftsgate Court for Historic Houses Garden of the Year 2019
© Kiftsgate Court

The double rose border is filled with a mixture of old fashioned, specie and modern roses. The scent in high summer is overpowering. The path running down the middle is edged with the pink striped Rosa mundi, many of which have reverted to its parent, the Apothecary’s rose. To extend the interest throughout the year, plantings of astilbes, asters and grasses add further texture and form.

The original Kiftsgate rose grows in this border enveloping three trees and is a magnificent sight in early July with sprays of white flowers cascading to the ground.

At the end of the path a clipped arch of whitebeam frames a statue seat by Simon Verity. In this area ferns and grasses provide a tranquil corner. You can find out much more information about all the wonderful features of Kiftsgate Court Gardens on their website here.

When can I visit?

Open Saturdays to Wednesdays in August and Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays in September, 2pm to 6pm. Entry to the garden only is £9.00, or visit as a Historic Houses member for free. Find out more about joining Historic Houses here.

Find out more about Kiftsgate Court Gardens here, or vote for Kiftsgate Court Gardens here.

Newby Hall & Gardens

Ripon, North Yorkshire HG4 5AE

Newby Hall & Gardens for Historic Houses Garden of the Year 2019
© Newby Hall & Gardens

25 acres of stunning award-winning gardens contain rare and beautiful shubs and plants, including the National Collection of the genus Cornus (dogwoods). Newby's famous double herbaceous borders make the perfect walkway to the River Ure. Formal gardens such as the Autumn and Rose Garden, the tranquility of Sylvia's Garden and a Tropical Garden make Newby an inspiring and exciting place to explore.

The management of the Gardens has been taken over by Mrs Lucinda Compton alongside Mark Jackson, Head Gardener. Along with the dedicated team and invaluable volunteer help they are all enthusiastic about both maintaining the high standard of the garden and also taking it forward to even higher levels.

When can I visit?

Open daily in August and closed on Mondays in September. Gates open at 11am, last admission 5pm. Garden cleared 5.30pm. Entry to the garden only is £12.75, or visit as a Historic Houses member for free. Find out more about joining Historic Houses here.

Find out more about Newby Hall & Gardens here, or vote for Newby Hall & Gardens here.

Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens

Cadnant Road, Menai Bridge, Isle of Anglesey, North Wales LL59 5NH

Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens for Historic Houses Garden of the Year 2019
© Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens

Described as one of North Wales' best kept secrets is the hidden world of Plas Cadnant Gardens, situated at the side of the Menai Strait, hidden from view near to Menai Bridge on the Isle of Anglesey.

In 1996, the present owner bought the 200 acre Plas Cadnant Estate and work began on the restoration of the historic garden and grounds. Since then large parts of the gardens have undergone a spectacular transformation and have been restored to their former glory. A new garden is being created on an historic site, becoming a plantsman's paradise. It is now considered amongst the liveliest twenty gardens of Wales, and has featured in a new book 'The Finest Gardens of Wales' by Tony Russell'. It has also been featured in 'Discovering Welsh Gardens', written by Stephen Anderton and photographed by Charles Hawes.

When can I visit?

Open Sundays to Fridays in August and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays in September. Entry to the garden only is £7.50, or visit as a Historic Houses member for free. Find out more about joining Historic Houses here.

Find out more about Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens here, or vote for Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens here.


Deadline for votes: 30 September 2019

Further information

See all the past winners of the Garden of the Year Award here.

Discover all the Garden Only places you can visit on our map here.

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