Early Spring 2020 Newsletter - Giving a voice to Britain's Gardens

Tony Russell, Gardens to Visit

Welcome to our first Gardens to Visit E-Newsletter of 2020, providing you with all the latest news on British gardens. Here you will find details on the very best gardens to visit in the year ahead, as well as information on special garden events, activities, concerts, open days, guided walks, tours, new facilities and services, garden holidays, garden news and lots more.

To find out more about each item featured below, simply click on it. Also, if you click on the garden name it will take you directly to the garden's own website.

This newsletter provides you with everything you will need to help you decide which gardens to visit and the best time to visit them. Published monthly from now on and distributed to thousands of garden clubs, horticultural societies, groups, individuals, coach companies, tour operators, journalists and media representatives, this newsletter really is the voice of British gardens.

If you would like to find out more about the stories within our E-Newsletters and much else besides, visit the Gardens to Visit website www.gardenstovisit.net

Tony Russell - Gardens to Visit Editor

Bluebell Beauty

There’s a blooming magic carpet ride in store for bluebell fans in West Wales this spring.

The Great Gardens of West Wales – a seven-strong group of fabulous venues in Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion – are throwing open their doors in celebration of this floral favourite.

Your passport to this wildflower spectacular is the Great Gardens of West Wales leaflet which, as well as being a perfect bluebell trail guide, also offers you a range of discounts to the magnificent seven gardens.

The bluebell, Hyacinthoides non-scripta, also has the common names: wood bell, fairy flower and wild hyacinth. Millions of bulbs can be found in just one woodland, which gives rise to carpets of flowers in April and May.

An obvious place to start is the National Trust’s Colby Woodland Garden, with its wonderful wooded valley full of surprises – and bluebells. Then pay a visit to Upton Castle, one of Pembrokeshire’s hidden gems and an absolute must for gardening enthusiasts. Nearby Picton Castle and Gardens is Pembrokeshire’s finest stately home and boasts 40 acres of some of the most beautiful woodland gardens and grounds. Christina Shand’s Dyffryn Fernant Garden has been described as “the most inspiring garden in Wales” while Cae Hir – a Welsh garden with a Dutch history – was voted 2nd Best Garden in Wales 2019/20 by the readers of Garden News.

Carmarthenshire offers two superb stops along your way: the renowned 10-acre plantsman’s paradise that is Aberglasney and the National Botanic Garden of Wales, a fascinating blend of the modern and historic, with themed gardens, woodland and wild areas.

Head gardener at Aberglasney, Joseph Atkin, says: “For all the rare and unusual plants that we grow, there is still something very special about our bluebell woodlands. Bluebells are a British native that are dear to most people. With good management they make an excellent native plant display in most woodland but in our beech woods they are especially good.”

Come and party with us!

National Botanic Garden of Wales

Did you work or volunteer at the National Botanic Garden of Wales back in the day?

You may have done so even before the Garden was opened.

If you did, we’d like to hear from you. And we’d really like to hear your stories and share your photos – if you have some.

It is our 20th anniversary on May 24th 2020 and we have a party planned for former staff and volunteers.

So get in touch, maybe tell us a story or two about your time in the Garden and the people you worked with. And be sure to make a date in your diary to come and see what we’ve done with the place. Tell anyone you know who might be interested, too.

If you are interested, email 2020@gardenofwales.org.uk and tell us your tales of the early days of the Botanic Garden.

What’s On 2020 Cambridge University Botanic Garden

cambridge university botanic garden

Cambridge University Botanic Garden is delighted to announce its programme of events for 2020 and the attached press release details our main seasonal events, horticultural highlights, family events and activities, science events and adult learning and workshops.

The Botanic Garden is an inspirational outdoor classroom for all ages; a place to develop knowledge, encourage creativity and bring learning to life.

Download the What’s On leaflet

Meet the Vegetable Gardener in the Schools Garden
Every Tuesday afternoon, 2pm-3.30pm during the school holidays: Tues 7 April; 26 May; Tues 28
July; 4, 11, 18, 25 Aug (normal Garden admission applies)
Get your vegetable growing questions answered and learn more about how to grow vegetables and meet
our vegetable growing experts, who will be on hand to answer any of your gardening queries. For adults,
families and/or children.

Snowdrops at Castle Kennedy

Snowdrops - Castle Kennedy

Castle Kennedy Gardens undoubtedly one of the most captivating settings to see beautiful swathes of snowdrops emerging from the dark of winter heralding the start of Spring! Thanks to the vigorous planting of the 10th Earl of Stair in the 1840s, to present day gardeners, magnificent carpets of these ‘Fair Maids of February’ are available for everyone to enjoy.

The Gardens are home to incredible displays of Snowdrops especially in and around the 16th century Castle ruin where over ten varieties can be viewed in the Walled Garden.

A special 3 mile route has been created around the picturesque Black Loch – ideal for walking or driving round – taking in the Tongue Burn, a delightful burn running through the heart of the woodlands, which hosts delightful displays of Snowdrops. Those visitors walking the route can look for the hidden bank full of snowdrops near Tongue Burn and experience this truly magical viewing point for themselves. The shores of the Black Loch are also included in the new walking route which makes the Gardens the perfect place to explore.

Following the ‘Snowdrop Trail’ visitors to Castle Kennedy Gardens are encouraged to enjoy a hearty bowl of homemade soup and delicious, home baking in the Garden’s Tearoom where only the best of fresh, local produce is served.  The tearoom is operating a special weekend menu alongside deliciously moorish home baking. There is also a chance to buy some bulbs and start your own snowdrop garden for future generations to enjoy!

Waterperry Gardens

Waterperry Gardens

There a host of activites at Waterperry Gardens in 2020 …

National Garden Scheme Open Gardens on Sunday 15th March. £8.50 per adult, children under 16 free.

Big Easter Bunny Hunt
28th March to 21st April 2020
Join the Big Easter Bunny Hunt around the ornamental gardens. Find them all and claim a special Easter prize. £2.50 per child – children must be accompanied by an adult for whom the garden entrance fee applies. (£8.50 per adult)

Download the list of events

Springtime in the Gardens of Snowdonia and North Wales

Spring in Snowdonia

30 March – 03 April 2020

Price from: £434.00- £474.00

A fascinating springtime course on the gardens of Snowdonia and North Wales led by gardens expert Tony Russell.

Gardens visited will be chosen from the following, dependent on season, flowering and weather conditions. Bodnant, Nanhoron, Plas Brondanw, Plas Cadnant, Plas Tan y Bwlch, Plas Yn Rhiw and Portmeirion.

Download the leaflet

Scenic Fjords and Gardens of Norway

Norwegian Cruise


1 September 2020 8-night Cruise from only £1659pp

Includes Garden Visits and Exclusive Garden-themed On-board Programme

“This spectacular scenic cruise on Fred.Olsen’s Braemar includes visits to the beautiful floral island gardens of Flor & Fjaere, the Botanical Gardens at Milde and magnificent fjordland landscapes only accessible to smaller, more intimate-sized ships such as Braemar.”
Tony Russell

Download the leaflet