The Winter Garden: Holme, Dorset

I am a regular visitor to this delightful garden. In summer its lush herbaceous borders are a wonder – but it’s a stunning winter garden, too.


As the hedges fill in the garden belies its heritage as a very flat fruit-field. Statuary, urns and garden ornaments all add to the effect.


These dead grass-tops add wonderful subtle colour and contrast. And of course, they’re beautiful in summer, too.


Trees add height and beautiful bark, along with stunning-coloured dogwoods and spreading pampas grasses. The planting is just beautiful, as you can see.

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Woven in among these winter beauties is an excellent collection of conifer varieties, some still very young, but already creating an impact, like this golden Scots pine. They are all clearly labelled, for conifer connoisseurs.

If you’re anywhere in the area, I urge you to visit Holme Gardens – entry is free through the winter, and there is a very fine garden centre attached.

For full information on Holme Gardens, visit their website




Best of 2018 – Goodnestone Park


My final choice of favourite gardens visited in 2018 is Goodnestone Park, Kent. The walled garden here is one of the finest I’ve seen – and I have a real penchant for walled gardens. Even when I was there in the rather delayed spring this year,  it was beautiful and full of promise for the summer.

May I take the opportunity to wish everyone a happy year of garden visiting in 2019.

Best of 2018 – Painswick Rococo Garden


Goodness only knows what strange bits of Gloucestershire the satnav took us to in our quest to find this garden – but it was worth it. In fact it was worth it just to see this exedra with its beautiful reflecting pool. Definitely one of the quirkiest and most charming places I’ve visited. Highly recommended.

Best of 2018 – Kiftsgate


I re-visited the garden at Kiftsgate, Gloucestershire, on one of the hottest days of an exceptionally hot summer. The plants (and I) were showing signs of heat stress – but this fabulously cool and serene view over the half-moon pool with the subtle dark foliage of a Japanese maple in the foreground was so refreshing. Not one of my best photos – but it does bring back that moment in the shade on a frazzled day.