England without Shakespeare is like a flower without fragrance. What differentiates Shakespeare from other poets is that the latter used flowers from gardens to beautify their verses while Shakespeare’s verses are used to beautify the Shakespearean gardens, which are the gardens that cultivate the plants mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare. He portrayed the different phases of a multitude of flowers in hundreds of verses of unparalleled beauty, like:
I’ll say she looks as clear
As morning Roses newly wash’d with dew.
(Petruchio; in The Taming of the Shrew)
How now, my love! Why is your cheek so pale?
How chance the Roses there do fade so fast?
(Lysander to Hermia: in Midsummer Night’s Dream)
England is duly famous for its gardens and quite all of them are regarded as some of the world’s best gardens. While some have commercial value, there are others reflective of the pure labor of love and considered as a national heritage. Garden plants range from decorative, Fairy Tail reeds to the unique flowers of all conceivable sizes, forms, colors, and fragrances.
1. The Knot Garden at the Red Lodge Museum, Bristol
The Knot Garden at the Red Lodge Museum, Bristol is one of the most famous gardens of England. It was founded by Mary Carpenter with the financial help of the famous poet Lord Byron’s widow who acquired the Red Lodge in 1854. Red Lodge is a historical building in Bristol, London. The garden is open to the public as a branch of the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery. It is a Knot Garden characterized by its square plan, fragrant herbs, and box hedges. Box is a plant botanically known as Buxus sempervirens, which on cutting, releases a very sweet fragrance. A Knot Garden is also known for containing aromatic herbaceous borders by growing herbs like; germander, rosemary, calendulas, thyme, lemon balm, hyssop, mallow, chamomile, and violas.
2. Hatfield House Garden
John Tradescant the elder laid out the garden covering 42 acres at Hatfield House in the 17th century. For this garden, he brought to Europe such plants that were never seen before in England. The gardens have fountains, orchards, herbaceous aromatic plants, and a foot maze. The garden was neglected in the 18th century but restored afterwards. During World War ÃŽâ„¢, the British Army used it as a testing field for the British tanks after fencing it with barbed wire. From 1919 to 1970 a surviving Mark ÃŽâ„¢ tank was displayed at the site. The tank was afterwards displayed at Bovington Tank Museum. The Hatfield House was built in the Great Park located to the east of the town of Hatfield in Hertfordshire, England. It was built in 1811, by Robert Cesil, the first Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James ÃŽâ„¢. The Hartfield Palace was built in 1497 and had been a favorite residence of Queen Elizabeth ÃŽâ„¢.
3. Antony House Garden
Antony House is located between the town of Torpoint and Antony Village in the County of Cornwall, U.K. It was built in the 18th century and is currently owned by the National Trust. Its gardens are open to the public from March to October. The garden was landscaped by the Georgian garden designer Humphery Repton. The garden contains hedges and exquisite topiary which is the art of training twigs and branches into desired forms. Topiary is also known as the living sculpture. The garden is decorated with fine statuary. The garden is known for its daylilies of various forms and colors. The garden also contains Black Walnut trees, Cork trees, and very fragrant herbaceous borders.
4. Hampton Court Garden
Hampton Court is a royal palace in the historic county of Middlesex. The palace is located on the River Thames at about 12 miles from Charing Cross. It has not been inhabited by the British Family since the 18th century. Prominent features of its garden include the Hampton Court Maze planted in 1690 by George London. The maze is spread over one-third of an acre and contains half a mile of paths. The garden covers 60 acres of the total 750 acres of the park. The garden is also known for the Great Vine planted in 1768 which still produces black, sweet grapes sold in the shops of the palace in early September. Its rose garden, fountain garden, and pond gardens are great attractions.
5. Great Dixter Gardens
Great Dixter Gardens are located in East Sussex, England. The famous English architect Edwin Lutyens created them in 1910. The gardens are set in the Manor House that was built in 1220. Currently, the gardens are owned by the famous author and lecturer Christopher Lloyd. Lutyen’s original design has been changed partially by Lloyd. Many small gardens which are interconnected surround the house. The colorful and pleasant-smelling environment attracts many birds, and the green woodpeckers particularly take it as a sanctuary. The peacock topiary garden is especially noted for its 18 birds fashioned of yew which regenerates quickly allowing easy repairs.
6. Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens lie on the south bank of the River Thames in a suburban area of London between Richmond and Kew. The Royal Botanic Garden is spread over 300 acres. Famous landscape architect Capability Brown contributed in laying out Kew Gardens regarded as the largest herbarium in the world. The botanic gardens are called Royal because they were owned by the members of the British Royal family. King George II and Queen Carolina lived on the Ormonde Lodge of this estate formerly known as the Richmond Estate. The heir, Prince Frederick, leased the estate in 1730.
7. Ickworth House
Ickworth House is located outside Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England. There is a giant rotunda in the park extending over 1800 acres. A rotunda is a building having a circular plan and usually having a dome. The Ickworth House, park, and gardens are in the custody of the National Trust and open to the public. Since the 15th century it had been owned by the Hervey family, and it was handed over to the National Trust in 1956. The park and gardens were designed by Capability Brown. It has a summer house, vineyard, a lake, and a canal. There is an enclosure for the free wandering of the deer. There are also numerous paths of different varieties throughout the park.
8. Wisely Garden
Wisely Garden is located near the village of Wisley in Surrey. It was originally created by George Fergusson Wilson who was a businessman, a scientist, and a gardener. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) took over the garden in 1903 when only a small portion of the huge 60-acre estate remained. Of the four flagship gardens of the RHS, Wisley is the oldest garden. The garden has rich borders, extraordinarily attractive rose beds, and excellent glass houses. There is a laboratory for training future gardeners and experimentation fields for growing new varieties. Ornamental grasses including Fairy Tails add to the beauty and freshness of the gardens.
9. Garden at Buckingham Palace
Buckingham House, the forerunner of the Buckingham Palace, was built by the Duke of Buckingham in 1703. The garden at the Buckingham Palace is located in its rear and occupies 42 acres of land in the City of Westminster, London. The garden is bounded by Constitution Hill to the North, Hyde Park Corner to the west, Grosvenor place to the south, and Buckingham Palace to the south and east. There is a variety in the plantation. One Mulberry tree survives from the times of James I of England. The gardens contain a 19th century lake, a summerhouse, a helicopter pad, and a tennis court where John McEnroe, Steffi Graf, and Bjorn Borg have played. Unlike many other gardens, the Buckingham Palace Garden is not open to the public with the exception of a few, very few, special occasions when selected public figures of national renown and some children were allowed to visit it.
10. The Garden at Sissinghurst Castle
The Garden at Sissinghurst Castle near Weald of Kent is owned by the National Trust. It is one of the most famous gardens in England. Vita Sackville-West, the poet and gardening writer created it in 1930 with the help of her husband Harold Nicholson. She was a gardening correspondent of The Observer. The garden is so attractive that King Edward I spent one night in 1305. In 1573, Queen Elizabeth I spent 3 nights at Sissinghurst. It occupies a central position in the 700-acre deer park. The garden is designed like colorful, interconnected rooms with high-clipped hedges. It is especially very colorful during autumn.
Common folk see the face of their beloved in gardens while the poets see gardens in the face of their beloved. What a meal is to the body, a walk through a garden is to the soul, and this was probably the reason behind the greeting topics, being weather first, whenever two English gentlemen happened to see one another. There is nothing more refreshing than seeing a rose bud with dew drops on it, particularly in the crisp air of an early morning.