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Gardens to visit - Abbotsbury Subtropical Garden

 “One of the finest gardens I have ever visited”

Alan Titchmarsh

 In the second of our series about gardens to visit, we look at Abbotsbury Subtropical Garden, just 20 miles from the Sitting Spiritually Garden in Dorset…… 

The garden is absolutely steeped in the history of Abbotsbury and is tied closely with the creation of the monastery that once dominated the village and the Fox-Strangways family. In 1541, the abbey lands were leased to Sir Giles Strangways, who converted part of the old monastery into a mansion. Later, Sir John Strangways, who was a staunch Royalist, held Abbotsbury for the King until the civil war broke out in 1644.

In 1765 the 1st Countess of Ilchester, built a castle on a site overlooking Lyme Bay. A short distance away, a wall was built for a sheltered kitchen garden to provide fresh produce for the family in residence. That walled garden is now the very heart of the Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens that we know today.

In the late 1960s, Lady Teresa Agnew and her first husband Lord Galway introduced a programme of restoration. A further 3 acres were added between 1982 and 1984, but a major impact on garden development has been made since the damage from the Great Storm of  1987 and subsequent replanting from 1990 onwards.

After the great storm, a major restoration project has been underway at Abbotsbury . Many new exotic and unusual flowers have been introduced to this fabulous Dorset Garden.

The Garden is a mixture of formal and informal flowers, world famous for its Camellia groves and magnolias. Noted in Dorset for its Rhododendron and Hydrangea collections and the charming Victorian Garden.

Regular events take place at the Garden including the floodlighting of the Garden in October. Hallowe’en is a major feature during the floodlighting when thousands of visitors dress in Hallowe’en costumes and the Restaurant becomes a centre for Hallowe’en celebrations.

Don’t miss stunning views of the Dorset Jurassic Coast from the viewpoint at the top of the Magnolia Walk (see photo below)

Facilities include the Colonial Restaurant, a quality gift shop and a fantastic plant centre where many of the flowers grown in the Garden can be purchased. Don’t miss stunning views of the Dorset Jurassic Coast from the viewpoint at the top of the Magnolia Walk.

 We are delighted to have two pieces of Sitting Spiritually furniture at Abbotsbury:

Find our RHS Serenity Cedar 2 Seat Swirl Back Swing Seat and also a Harmony 2 Seat Fan Back Swing Seat on the edge of the west lawn.  These will be joined in the Winter months by a Bespoke Pergola & Swing Seat

HALLOWEEN NOTE: The new Garden Pavilion on the West Lawn (where the two swing seats are) is the hub for the Hallowe’en event, but there is entertainment throughout the garden too.

Abbotsbury is stunning to visit all year round, and never more so than at this time of year…..

All photos below courtesy of Abbotsbury Subtropical Garden

Posted by Siobhan on October 29th 2018

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