South Wood Farm, Coxleigh, Honiton, Devon EX14 9HU
Hidden in the blissful setting of the Blackdown Hills, South Wood Farm is a garden that exemplifies how contemporary design can be brilliantly harmonious with the English country garden idyll. Designed by Arne Maynard around the 17th-century thatched farmhouse, this is quite simply a garden not to be missed, not least for its welcoming courtyard and mouthwatering kitchen gardens; the overall sense of place is unforgettable. All the details, from the immaculate knot garden to the various hard surfaces of gravel, cobbles and steps, are meticulous; add in the peacefulness of early autumn and you are in for a treat.
Open Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September, 2pm-5pm. Admission £5, children free, home-made teas, dogs welcome.
High Beeches, High Beeches Lane, Handcross, Haywards Heath, East Sussex RH17 6HQ
High Beeches is one of the best woodland gardens in the south of England, where an outstanding collection of rare trees and shrubs has been built up over more than a century. A measure of the quality you can expect is that it contains the Plant Heritage National Collection of Stewartia, one the rarest but most beautiful of all small flowering trees. In addition to its botanical and plant history, High Beeches can be enjoyed for its idyllic landscape of meadows and woodland – the perfect place to wander on an early autumn afternoon. There will be some early foliage colour and if you are lucky the magical deep-blue willow gentians will still be in flower.
Open Sunday 22 September, 1pm-5pm. Admission £8.50, children £2, refreshments.
35 Digswell Road, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire AL8 7PB
There are a number of gardens that credit the great Dutch plantsman Piet Oudolf as the inspiration for their planting, and here the very particular mix of late-flowering perennials and grasses that is his hallmark is immediately recognisable.
The garden is a mixture of orderliness, natural style and a skill in arranging plants so that textures and shapes contribute as much as colour. But this is not all, there is also a small meadow and superbly exotic area with bananas, bamboos and tree ferns. The impact is heightened by the fact that this is a town garden of a third of an acre, yet the contemporary style suits one of the most iconic garden cities of the interwar period; an unquestionably exciting discovery.
Open Sunday 22 September, 2pm-5pm. Admission £4, children free, home-made teas, plants for sale.
- For all gardens open for the National Gardens Scheme, visit ngs.org.uk