Tom Brown, head gardener at West Dean Gardens, picks the places to go to see the best of August’s flowers. Read our feature on his favourite August blooms.
Be sure to check opening times and advice on possible travel restrictions in advance.
Derry Watkins’ garden and nursery Special Plants is a delight for plantaholics. Although she gardens on heavy clay, Derry has a real passion for Mediterranean plants, and has created two gravel gardens to show off her extensive collection. The gardens are a real treat for enthusiasts and are open every Tuesday until October. Derry’s nursery is open daily and full of unusual perennials, grasses, and biennials. Special Plants, Greenways Lane, Cold Ashton, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN14 8LA. Tel 01225 891686, specialplants.net The nursery is now open 11 to 5 Thursday through to Saturday, with no booking needed.
Abbotsbury Subtropical Garden
Although famed for its spring-flowering camellias, and magnolias, Abbotsbury Subtropical Garden is even more exciting in high summer. Hydrangeas and tender perennials steal the show with a diversity and vibrancy that has an appropriately subtropical flavour. The gardens also enjoy stunning views of the Jurassic Coast. Open daily until December when they close for a couple of weeks. Buller’s Way, Abbotsbury, Weymouth, Dorset DT3 4LA. Tel 01305 871387, abbotsbury-tourism.co.uk Online booking is essential, certain attractions are currently not open.
The Courtyard Garden at Bury Court Barn was created by owner John Coke, in collaboration with Piet Oudolf. This naturalistic and flowing style of planting is intelligently contained here within a garden scale that feels relevant and accessible to the majority of us. The gardens are open once a month, for the Plantsman’s Days, in which the delightful and highly knowledgeable Marina Christopher offers a masterclass on how to extend your displays, followed by a guided tour of the gardens. Bury Court Barn, Bentley, Farnham, Surrey GU10 5LZ. Tel 07771 663437, burycourtbarn.com Check the website before travelling to see if the Plantsman’s Days are currently running.
Great Comp Garden
You know you’ve made it as a nurseryman or gardener, when your name becomes synonymous with a particular plant. This is true of William Dyson and his collection of salvias at Great Comp Garden. William is curator of the garden in Sevenoaks, and his adjoining nursery offers a huge range of salvias that can be seen in varied garden situations – responding particularly well to the hot, drier conditions of August. Visitors can also explore gardens that wrap around a 17th-century manor house and showcase many unusual perennials, including kniphofias, crocosmias, dahlias and many grasses and shrubs. Comp Lane, St Mary’s Platt, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 8QS. Tel 01732 885094, greatcompgarden.co.uk. Tickets can be purchased only at the admission gate, and the nursery, garden and tea room are open from 10am to 5pm.
Marchants Hardy Plants
As the summer rolls on, and our focus turns to late summer-flowering perennials and grasses, a visit to Graham Gough’s nursery Marchants Hardy Plants is a must. Graham and his wife Lucy have created a wonderful garden, despite the horticultural challenges of an incredibly exposed, cold site with very heavy soil. Inspired by naturalistic planting styles, Graham has developed a fine collection of perennials, and his artistic eye is matched by his immense knowledge. He particularly excels at using tried-and-tested grasses, from panicums to pennisetums, which intermingle with eupatoriums, sedums and asters. Open Wednesday to Saturday until mid-October. 2 Marchants Cottages Mill Lane, Laughton, Lewes, East Sussex BN8 6AJ. Tel 01323 811737, marchantshardyplants.co.ukOpen Thursday, Friday and Saturday only, 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm. Maximum of six customers preferred on the nursery at one time.