Most keen gardeners are planning their horticultural year; what seeds to buy, vegetables and flowers to grow, and trees and shrubs to move.
Here at the Montagu Arms Hotel we’re no different, but we also know that now is a great time to plan your 2017 garden visits, too. Despite its reputation as a place of wild beauty, The New Forest and its surrounding area is also home to some of the UK’s most fabulous gardens, most of which have long and fascinating opening seasons.
Here are some of our favourites…
With a Victorian kitchen garden restored to its 1872 layout (including a splendid vine house) a wilderness garden (carpeted with crocus, snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells in the spring), a Victorian flower garden, an Alice in Wonderland topiary walk and a millpond walk, you’ll find plenty to delight you for the day at Palace House, Beaulieu.
Best of all, when you’ve finished, you’re just five minutes away from the Montagu Arms.
There are two great reasons for visiting Furzey
, near Minstead. The first is that this 10-acre woodland garden, first planted in 1922, has year-round displays and is particularly famed for its spring and summer blooms (and its wonderful ‘Fairy Doors’ set into trees and features, for little visitors to find!). The second reason is that Furzey is a social enterprise which supports people with learning disabilities across Hampshire, Wiltshire and Portsmouth, so every visit makes a difference to their lives in a positive way.
Rightly famed for its azalea and rhododendron collections, Exbury
is a world-class garden. The beauty of the flowers reflected in the ponds will take your breath away. But, then, so will the colours of the autumn leaves. There are 20 miles of pathways to help you explore this garden which is a great favourite with no less a visitor than Her Majesty the Queen, who was pictured enjoying a ride on Exbury’s miniature steam railway. Picnics are encouraged, as are walks down to the timeless Beaulieu river, where you can contemplate this place’s amazing past – as a training base for those taking part in the D-Day Landings during World War II.
A short, 20-mile drive out of the forest, Mottisfont
is a National Trust Property which offers year-round delights, including frosty winter walks, rich autumn leaves and its piece de resistance – a world-famous, walled rose garden which houses the National Collection of Old Roses which flower in June.
Base yourself at the Montagu Arms for your gardens odyssey and you’ll be assured of endless comfort, a sense of tradition and food you can’t help talking about. Best of all, at the end of the day, you’ll be able to enjoy our Gertrude Jekyll-inspired garden; outside by our pond and fountain in the summer, from the conservatory areas during chillier times, and from the Terrace Restaurant and the Magnolia Lounge during meal times and evenings.