Broadleas Gardens reflect 200 years of gardening and plantsmanship in the rural Wiltshire countryside. Enjoying views to the Salisbury plains to the south, there is interest for visitors from February (with massed plantings of daffodils and other spring flowering bulbs in the picturesque dell) to September (with the hot colours and architectural grasses of the high summer bee garden).
The outstanding feature of the gardens is the woodland dell. Landscaped and planted over the course of the last 60 years, first by Lady Anne Cowdray and lately by the current owners, the dell took as its starting point a natural valley leading from the house down to the Potterne hill. With huge oak, ash and beech trees forming the backbone of the dell, now-mature cherry, holly, laurel and redwood supplement the native specimens. With these as their foil, the dell contains a magnificent collection of rare and unusual shrubs and trees, including rhododendron, azalea, cornus, camellia, hydrangea, bamboo and an almost-champion handkerchief tree. Amassed over decades of travelling, seed-swapping and propagation, this collection is crowned by dozens of spectacular magnolia species, chief among which is the enormous and unique Broadleas magnolia (Magnolia sargentiana robusta var. Broadleas). The dell has seams of clay, chalk and green sand, allowing an astonishing array of both ericaceous and neutral/alkaline preferring plants to flourish.
The upper gardens are arranged into herbaceous borders divided by hedges (osmanthus, yew, pleached hornbeam, lonicera and, unusually, camellia) with distinct areas offering a range of planting conditions for different flora to thrive in. A patioed rose garden, packed with colour and scent; a hot, silver border on the south-facing terrace, a secret garden, offering opportunities for shade tolerant plants; and, now ten years old, the bee garden, designed around an orchard with sweeping grass paths and beds filled with pollinator-friendly plants - perfect for the 14 bee hives at the bottom of the garden. With such variety, there's something to see and enjoy in every season.
Opening times: By appointment only from February 1st to September 30th
Admission Rates: Adults £15 (includes refreshments) | Under 16s free
Facilities: Teas, coffees, cakes, plant sales
Disabled Access: Upper gardens only
Car/Coach Parking: Yes
b 2 hours
Booking Contact: Jonathan Broadbridge (Head Gardener)
Location: Broadleas House, Devizes SN10 5JQ | Access from Broadleas Park entrance only
Updated: December 2019