West Country Gardens

I spend a good bit of time at the close of each year editing travel photos so I can share the best with those who joined me on the trip.  Here are a dozen favorites from the West Country Gardens tour, June 7-17.


Ridleys Cheer, Wiltshire


Cothay Manor, Somerset


Maperton House, Dorset


Forde Abbey, Dorset


Montacute House, Somerset


Milton Lodge Gardens, Somerset


Wells Cathedral, Somerset


Veddw House Garden, Monmouthshire


Aberglasney Gardens, Carmarthenshire


National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire


Dyffryn Fernant Garden, Pembrokeshire


Cae Hir Gardens, Ceredigion

There are many things I look for when visiting gardens, but I’m most interested in how they relate to the home and their surrounding landscape.  When reviewing my photos as a whole, I’m often struck by how many focus on those relationships.

As you can see, our visit to Wiltshire, Somerset, and Dorset was fabulous, and our foray into Wales was equally exciting.  We also squeezed in a visit to Highgrove House, exploring the Gloucestershire garden of HRH Prince Charles. Sadly, photos are not allowed at Highgrove.

Do you have a favorite among the group?

I’ll be visiting gardens in the Netherlands and Belgium in May.  If you would like to travel with me or consult my schedule for an independent visit, you can examine the full itinerary here.

22 thoughts on “West Country Gardens

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Dan–I’m looking forward to May but am a bit sad I’m not doing a 2017 garden tour in England. I’m thinking about a Christmas trip, though, as I’ve yet to visit in winter and it would be nice to explore without a set schedule.

      1. Wild Daffodil

        Oh Wow! what great idea. Perhaps I could join your tour – I have visited some of these but not all and it would be great to do so with like-minded people. I live in Dorset.

  1. Judy Mooney

    All so beautiful but my favorite is Ridleys Cheer, Wilshire. Whenever I travel, I always make time for the gardens.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Judy–I adore Ridleys Cheer. I saw it on one of my earliest visits to England about 15 years ago and was so glad to visit again. It is an amazing garden and Antony Young is a thoughtful and generous host.

  2. Beth @ PlantPostings

    Your composition is impeccable! I started to try to identify a favorite among your photos, but it’s impossible. They’re all stunningly beautiful–particularly as a collection. Europe in May–sounds like a dream of a trip!

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Beth–I couldn’t pick a favorite either, lol. I’m very much looking forward to the May trip and hope to catch the last of the tulips, but it depends on the weather, of course. Doesn’t it always!

  3. Eliza Waters

    Your photos are fabulous, Marian. How wonderful that you get to tour these beautiful gardens. While it is tough to pick a favorite, Ridley’s Cheer is beautiful with the stepped beds and house draped in roses.

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Eliza–Ridleys Cheer is top-notch. The garden has a bit of everything, including a productive garden, arboretum, wildflower meadow, and the best compost and leaf mold piles I’ve ever seen. The Youngs are truly amazing.

  4. Sharon Lanier

    Definitely RIDLEYS CHEER!!!! However, the Wells Catheral photo with its reflections is stunning! All these are fabulous indeed. So glad you shared them!

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Chloris–Lots of great gardens on this trip. The only one I wouldn’t visit again is Montacute House, but I enjoyed seeing it once. I would especially recommend Ridleys Cheer, Cothay Manor (plus the house tour if available), Veddw House, and Dyffryn Fernant…all small to mid-size gardens nurtured by hands-on owner/gardeners with immense talent. But I also loved the others. Cae Hir was the favorite of many in the group. It’s on a hill and more informal, was very hard to photograph, but stunning in its way. Wells looked like a fun place to explore but Glastonbury was frightful.

  5. Brenda

    All of the gardens are gorgeous (although I also am partial to the stone steps and roses at Ridleys Cheer). Your photography, however, really makes these gardens stand out. The second shot of the arched doorway and the woody vine is particularly fine. Sweet.

  6. Christina

    Many of the gardens you showed are among my favourite sin the West Country. Did you visit the Courts garden? It is one of the very best least publicized of the NT gardens.


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