Nation’s Favourite Gardens – 2023 winners revealed
Thousands of you voted for your favourite gardens that open for the National Garden Scheme. Now we can reveal the winners of 2023’s Nation’s Favourite Gardens competition, supported by Sisley Garden Tours. There are six regional winners, one overall champion and a winning garden that usually opens to the public but donates takings from a particular day (or days) to the Scheme. Scroll down to discover these seven superb gardens all of which open for the National Garden Scheme in 2024.
Overall Winner & South West Regional Winner
Rockcliffe, Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire
Rockcliffe Garden in Gloucestershire will need little introduction to regular readers of The English Garden, who will no doubt recognise the magnificent flight of topiary yew birds that line the steps leading to the hilltop dovecote and the crisply cut pyramids of beech that fringe an expanse of quintessentially striped lawn.
South East Regional Winner
Old Bladbean Stud, Kent
At Old Bladbean Stud near Canterbury in Kent, owner Carol Bruce has filled a walled garden with old-fashioned roses set off by a tapestry of perennials. Bold double borders are laid out with inch-perfect symmetry and painterly, colour coordinated planting.
Midlands Regional Winner
Priors Marston Manor, Warwickshire
In the Warwickshire village of the same name, Priors Marston Manor boasts a wonderful walled kitchen garden, herbaceous borders and a sunken terrace on which you can admire a water feature by William Pye. It’s a classic country house garden, developed since 2001 by its owners, Mark and Katie Cecil. To enhance the natural feel of the garden and help it blend into the estate, planting is limited to greens and pale flowers.
East Regional Winner
The Old Rectory, Nacton, Suffolk
At The Old Rectory, in Nacton, Suffolk, Elizabeth and James Wellesley-Wesley have been perfecting their garden over the past three decades. The plot is just under two acres, and attention has been paid to planting for each season, while working with the prevailing light soil and Suffolk’s dry conditions. Bulbs fill the garden with flowers from early spring, followed by wisteria and roses in June, and salvias, dahlias and asters in the autumn.
Wales & Borders Regional Winner
Highfield Farm, Monmouthshire
Roger and Jenny Lloyd created their garden at Highfield Farm, in Penperlleni, Monmouthshire, in double-quick time, so keen were they to start opening for the NGS. Quick-growing, robust perennials create an exuberant display, while a gravel garden close to the house showcases an array of wispy perennials in pastel colours and swaying grasses.
North Regional Winner
111 Main Street, Warton, Lancs
111 Main Street is Claire Spendlove’s garden in Warton, Lancashire. One part of a burgage plot, the long strip now consists of a series of ‘rooms’, each with its own character. Claire’s passion for colour is evident, as is her knack of giving the garden a contemporary twist with brightly painted furniture, bold design and vibrant planting. A large oak gazebo enjoys beautiful views over the Lancashire countryside with the Trough of Bowland visible in the distance.
Public Gardens Winner
This separate category is for gardens that are usually open to the public, but donate their takings from designated days to the National Garden Scheme.
Plas Cadnant, Anglesey
On Anglesey, the gardens at Plas Cadnant have been attentively restored by owner Anthony Tavernor. He discovered a dramatic landscape and long-forgotten woodland pleasure grounds when he started to clear the overgrown garden around his new home in 1998.