Gardens across the UK have shut down, and our usual garden visits have been halted. At Gardens Illustrated, we’re still trying to bring garden people together, which is why we’ve started this virtual garden tour series. Each week we’ll dive into one gorgeous garden, offering history alongside current videos and photographs from the people who run it. It’s not as perfect as wandering the borders in person, but watching a little slice of what’s happening in gardens throughout the country right now is a lovely way to spend some of the time we have in isolation.
Here is Iford Manor near Bath. Owner William Cartwright-Hignett shares what’s happening in the garden. Don’t miss more of our tours here.
William Cartwright-Hignett: “The gardens at Iford Manor offer an idyllic haven away from the rush and clamour of the modern world. But right now, they seem even more peaceful than usual, with just our family, the cats and a couple of the team still coming in to work.
Without the gentle hum of visitors, the bird song seems a little louder; the rustle of trees catches the ear; one hears the bees telling each other stories of newfound nectar. You can positively feel nature opening up in the sunshine after such a long, wet winter.
As anyone tending a plot will attest, nature is not obeying the lock-down. Weeds are poking through, the lawn requires attention, peonies need staking, the cutting back can’t wait, and a myriad other jobs are calling out for attention. What were sparse beds of mulch only a month ago are now starting to crowd up with signs that better times are ahead.
And what an optimistic time this is! Cherry blossom is coming out in abundance here, with many of Harold Peto’s original forms, some over 120 years old, still celebrating the annual return of good weather. Later this year, we will participate in the Japan-UK Sakura Project, receiving a new clutch of cherry trees to extend the Japanese garden area, as part of a nation-wide planting project dedicated to an ongoing cultural friendship between Japan and the UK.
So as the Japanese have been celebrating sakura season, despite all the work that needs doing in the gardens across the UK let us not forget to take time and appreciate the beauty of spring. Whether you have a garden yourself, or are seeking a mental escape from the enforced houseboundness of this unsettling time, I hope this little postcard from Iford will give you cheer, a brief escape to another world.”
Head to Iford Manor’s YouTube channel for more coverage of the garden from William and the team.
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