Gardens in Literature

The range of great literary works influenced and featuring gardens shows just how important these spaces are as creative influences; the twisted rhododendrons of Manderley in Rebecca, the locked garden Mary Lennox discovers in The Secret Garden and the talking flowers Alice meets in Through the Looking-Glass all create unforgettable literary moments. National Garden Scheme gardens are beautiful spaces which could inspire great works of art and, to mark World Book Day, we’ve picked out a few with some obvious connections and inspired features.

Great Maytham Hall, Kent (lead image)

Lutyens designed gardens famous for having inspired Frances Hodgson Burnett to write The Secret Garden (pre Lutyens). Parkland, woodland with bluebells. Walled garden with herbaceous beds and rose pergola. Pond garden with mixed shrubbery and herbaceous borders. Interesting specimen trees.

Next open Wednesday 15th May Find a Garden | National Garden Scheme (ngs.org.uk)

Click the link below to read more about Great Maytham Hall and see a virtual tour of the garden.

Great Maytham Hall, Kent: the most famous garden in literature  – National Garden Scheme (ngs.org.uk)

Gwaenynog, Denbighshire

Two acres including the restored walled garden where Beatrix Potter wrote and illustrated the Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies. Also a small exhibition of some of her work. Long herbaceous borders and island beds, some recently replanted, espalier fruit trees, rose pergola and vegetable area. C16 house (not open) visited by Dr Samuel Johnson during his Tour of Wales.

Next open Sunday 16th June Find a Garden | National Garden Scheme (ngs.org.uk)

Ralph Court Gardens, Herefordshire 

Fourteen amazing gardens set in the grounds of a gothic rectory. A family orientated garden with a twist, incorporating an Italian Piazza, an African Jungle, Dragon Pool, Alice in Wonderland and the elves in their conifer forest and our new section The Monet Garden.

Next open Saturday 16th March

Find a Garden | National Garden Scheme (ngs.org.uk)


Godmersham Park, Kent 

Twenty four acres of restored wilderness and formal gardens with a historical association with Jane Austen. Topiary, rose garden, herbaceous borders, walled kitchen garden and recently restored Italian and swimming pool gardens. Superb daffodils in spring.

Next open Sunday 17th March

Find a Garden | National Garden Scheme (ngs.org.uk)


Goodnestone Park, Kent 

One of Kent’s outstanding gardens and the favourite of many visitors. Fourteen acres with views over parkland. Jane Austen was a frequent visitor, as her brother married a daughter of the house.

Next open Thursday 13th June Find a Garden | National Garden Scheme (ngs.org.uk)

Click the link below to read more about Goodnestone Park and to watch a virtual tour of the garden.

Goodnestone Park, Kent; following in Jane Austen’s footsteps – National Garden Scheme (ngs.org.uk)


Salterns Cottage, Isle of Wight 

Salterns Cottage is a listed building built in 1640 and was bought in 1927 by Noël’s grandmother Florence, married to Bram Stoker the author of Dracula. Perhaps a tentative link, we’re not sure we can see any gothic horror inspiration in this garden, but it was too interesting a name not to mention!

The garden is open by arrangement from April-September for groups of between 5 and 20

Find a Garden | National Garden Scheme (ngs.org.uk)



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