Taking the tercentenary of Capability Brown as a starting point, VisitEngland has named 2016 The Year of the English Garden. So what better time than now to promote The Isle of Wight as ‘The Garden Isle’? Here’s “seven things you never knew” – from the seasonal, to places with gardens where you can stay, or eat…
1. The Woman in Red and Capability Brown
The 18th century home of Worsley family, Appuldurcombe House – made famous recently by the BBC TV drama Woman in Red – is the only known Cabability Brown site on the Island. A Study Day is set to take place here in October, and will feature talks, lunch, and tour of the grounds.
2. Blooming July
The flowers of the famous Giant Waterlily at Ventnor Botanic Garden Ventnor Botanic Garden will come into bloom this July. With leaves up to 3-metres in diameter, this rare lily usually flowers after midnight. Special evening openings will be arranged – although they are not easy to predict, as the Waterlily decides when it will flower only on the afternoon immediately before!
3. By Royal Appointment
Sovereign’s Gate Osborne are two holiday cottages that have been developed in this iconic building. The holiday cottages have their own private garden where guests can relax and soak up the grandeur of Osborne; and once the public have left, guests have Osborne’s extensive grounds and private beach to themselves.
4. A garden on the beach
Appley Park in Ryde forms a component of the grounds of St John’s House which was believed to have been landscaped by Humphry Repton – the man widely regarded as Capability Brown’s successor – in around 1798. Enough remains of the ancient coastal woodland and original features to give the site a fascinating historic perspective. A garden on the beach, there are plenty of places to eat and activities for all the family.
5. A model garden tearoom
An unexpected place to find such an ornate garden, Godshill Model Village features 3,000 specimens of conifers and shrubs, many of which have been carefully pruned using the ‘niwaki approach’. The gardens at Godshill Model Village are in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Partner Garden Scheme for 2016. On fine days, Nammet Hut opens for refreshments.
Step onto the Island to see bluebells in April
Borthwood Copse, in Sandown is a remarkable area of ancient woodland, which was once a medieval hunting ground. Mottistone Manor’s pathway on the walk to the Longstones is also covered in bluebells, which sometimes flower from April due to the Island’s favourable climate. Mottistone Gardens itself – considered by some to be the finest of all the gardens on island – will be hosting a highly original murder mystery set in the 1920s within its grounds on July 2nd and 30th this year.
7. Botanic splendour in historic setting
The 15-acre Northcourt Gardens are nationally recognised by Historic England and placed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens, developed over the last 400 years around one of the Island’s oldest manor houses. The garden includes a serpentine mount and walks, spring-fed stream, woodland and ornamental borders. The special microclimate and soil conditions support over 4,000 different plant varieties from around the world. The gardens are privately owned but open for charity on the afternoons of May 8 and June 18. There will also be a tour of the gardens on May 18 at 14.00.
For further information, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight, tel. 01983 521555, ext 29, 07766 705672, email@example.com
Image of the gardens at Osborne attached: please credit English Heritage