The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is delighted to announce that 18 new gardens will join its successful Partner Garden Scheme in 2023. These new additions bring the total to 221, introducing gardens from Somerset to South Africa, and offering RHS members the chance to visit even more gardens for free at selected times of year.
The updated list includes three new RHS Partner Gardens in the South East of England, including Vita Sackville-West’s world-renowned garden at Sissinghurst Castle. Highlights there include The Rose Garden, with its ‘tumble of roses and honeysuckle, figs and vines’, and The White Garden whose palate provides a refreshing contrast to the more vibrant parts of the grounds.
Near Canterbury in Kent is Goodnestone Park where the Woodland Garden provides a haven for nature lovers and the Walled Garden brims with fragrant shrub roses, while Bates Green Garden near Eastbourne features naturalistic planting and a 5.5-acre Wildflower Meadow where visitors can relax and observe the diversity of flora and fauna within.
South West of England newcomer Kilver Court Gardens features the dramatic backdrop of the Charlton railway viaduct. Its bountiful 100-metre herbaceous border focuses on foliage colour rather than blooms, and an impressive rockery built with sandstone boulders from the Forest of Dean frames a man-made stream and waterfall.
One of three Welsh additions to the list is Powis Castle, famed for its extraordinary yew hedges. A key theme throughout the garden, the hedging and topiary continue into The Fountain Garden where the afternoon light throws shadows across the grass. The Italianate Terraces are considered the finest surviving example of a 17th century terraced garden in Britain, and afford breath-taking views across the garden, deer park, and beyond.
One of two newcomers from the Midlands is Bridgemere Show Gardens, which is home to 13 individual gardens, seven of which are Gold and Silver Medal award-winning gardens from the RHS Chelsea, Hampton Court and Tatton Flower Shows. At the world famous Hidcote Garden in the Cotswolds visitors can enjoy the Arts and Crafts-inspired garden ‘rooms’, each of which has its own unique character.
Further north, John Ruskin’s former Cumbrian home, Brantwood, blends both elegant and wild planting over various levels, and provides access to some of the finest scenery in the Lake District. Wentworth Woodhouse near Sheffield is not only home to a wildflower meadow, ancient trees, and shaded woodland copses, but is also peppered with 18th Century follies and monuments, including an Ionic Temple and a Camellia House.
Gordon Castle in Scotland boasts one of the oldest and largest walled kitchen gardens in Britain. An oasis of peace and tranquillity, the garden is also a hive of activity, with myriad herbs, cut flowers, fruit and vegetables growing within its ancient walls.
Further afield, the latest addition from South Africa is Brahman Hills Gardens, which was established over lockdown. Lush green foliage offsets bursts of blue, purple and delicate pinks, while the gentle splash of water makes this a peaceful setting. The landscaping is given dimension and interest thanks to the tiered terraces and multi-level flower beds.
There are 221 gardens in the RHS Partner Gardens scheme for 2023, which allows RHS Members to visit non-RHS gardens for free at selected times of the year. They include some of the world’s most admired gardens as well as privately-owned hidden gems, and beyond the UK can be found in 9 countries across the globe, including Barbados, France, Japan, Singapore, and South Africa. Details of all new and existing RHS Partner Gardens can be found at: rhs.org.uk/gardens/partner-gardens