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Top Five Most Beautiful Gardens in the South West

There are so many beautiful gardens here in the South West of England, that if time is short it can be difficult to choose, so we thought we’d take the leg work out of it for you and share with you our Top Five. Oh, and there’s a wee bonus sixth at the end of the list!

So there are no favourites, we are listing them in alphabetical order:

1.      Abbotsbury Sub Tropical Gardens

“One of the finest gardens I have ever visited”   Alan Titchmarsh

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.
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. 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.   We are delighted to have three pieces of Sitting Spiritually garden furniture at Abbotsbury.

Visit Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

2.    Burrow Farm Gardens

East Devon’s Secret Garden is a beautiful and secluded 13-acre garden with many unusual trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. Created from farmland and an old roman clay pit over the past 60 years, the gardens are the product of one lady's determination to create a garden.  A thatched stone summerhouse looks towards a lake and ancient oak woodland under planted with rhododendrons, azaleas and other woodland plants. Azaleas flourish in the garden and Azalea Glade is a particularly tranquil and enchanted area of the garden.  The more formal Millennium garden features colour themed planting with a rill running through the centre into a formal pond teeming with goldfish.  The Rose Garden has something of a Mediterranean feel to it with antique terracotta oil jars set up as if they are floating on top of cubes of box.  The Grasses Garden features ornamental grasses waving gently above the sunken path. A perfusion of perennials makes a stunning display with pink, blue and purple as the theme. This area of the garden is particularly stunning later in the year.

Take a walk through the wild flower meadow, home to hundreds of orchids as well as many other interesting wildflowers, to the view point and enjoy the extensive views of rolling Devon hills. 

The garden is carefully designed to provide interest all of the year with early spring interest through to superb autumn colour, find a Sitting Spriitually Swirl Back Swing Seat placed near the entrance to the garden,  the seat has made a wonderful focal point across the lawn and is used by almost every single visitor we are told!

Visit Burrow Farm Gardens

Burrow Farm Gardens

3. Forde Abbey

Forde Abbey, has a rich and varied history spanning 900 years. Through the centuries, it has played host to Cistercian monks at prayer, 19th-century philosophers and politicians. 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 swing seats & benches 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 here.  We are delighted to have three Sitting Spiritually swings seats at Forde Abbey, including one hanging from our bespoke pergola, just by the tulip swirl, which later becomes the wild meadow swirl. The artfully made swirl is a truly a beautiful sight to see from the comfort of the curve back swing seat.

Visit Forde Abbey

Forde Abbey

4. National Trust Stourhead

Stourhead is a 1,072-hectare estate at the source of the River Stour in Somerset.  The estate includes a Palladian mansion, the village of Stourton, gardens, farmland, and woodland. With hills, water and classical architecture overlaid by a fabulous collection of trees and shrubs, Stourhead was described as ‘a living work of art’ when first opened in the 1740s. Meandering paths offer vistas through trees to classical temples and surprises at every turn. Stourhead is breathtaking in any season, but it's the perfect place to relax and enjoy a picnic in summer & it is world famous for its stunning Autumn colours which feature time and again in the press.  The centre piece of the garden at Stourhead is the lake, which dictates the path you take and the views you enjoy, but the wider Estate too provides some stunning walks where you may also walk your dog.

Visit Stourhead


5. RHS Rosemoor

RHS Garden Rosemoor is an enchanting garden nestled in the beautiful Torridge Valley and home of Tarka the Otter and located within half an hour of Dartmoor National Park. Surrounded by woodland, the garden is rich in variety throughout every season and features inspiring planting displays enhanced by the natural beauty of Devon. These include the largest rose gardens in the South West; the stunning Hot Garden; a Devon Cottage Garden; lake, stream and waterfall; The Fruit and Vegetable Garden, natural flower meadows and bluebell carpeted woodlands. Rosemoor blends formal and informal plantings to magical effect.
We are delighted to have four Sitting Spiritually seats at Rosemoor, two garden benches & two swing seats.

Visit RHS Garden Rosemoor

RHS Rosemoor

6. Bonus!   The Sitting Spiritually Garden

We make no apologies for including ourselves here! 

The garden was started as Martin & Celia’s private garden in 1998 and went on to become the “showroom” for displaying the swing seats when sitting Spiritually was born in 2004.  It has been Martin’s passion since those early days and has seen many changes and developments, the greatest of these being since the design and planting came under the expert hands of garden designers Jarmanmurphy back in 2016 and they designed the garden to have a long flowering season so there is always something to see, from a multitude of bulbs in the Spring, to gently swaying grasses in September, you’ll be sure of something to grab your attention and, hopefully, inspire you.

Visiting us is also an opportunity to discuss your individual needs with us and we can offer expert advice on all aspects of your seating, be it a garden swing seat and frame, or expert advice on hanging a swing seat from your own tree or pergola.  You will be sure of our undivided attention and a welcoming cup of tea or coffee. The only thing we ask, as Martin & Celia also live at the address, is that you phone ahead first to check they are there and make a time for your visit. Call us on 01297 443084

We look forward to welcoming you to the Sitting Spiritually Garden.

The Sitting Spiritually Garden

Posted by Siobhan on September 16th 2019

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