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Small but perfectly formed – some of the best smaller gardens opening in 2022

Showcasing the imagination and creativity of garden owners working in sometimes tight spaces, small gardens are wonderful for everyday inspiration that garden visitors can take home and replicate. Here’s a taster of some of the best of the small gardens opening for the National Garden Scheme in 2022. Many more open, including a variety of great gardens that make up groups of gardens, so be sure to explore these too. Explore Group Gardens here. 

A real gem is Green Bough in Gloucestershire. This compact country garden is densely planted for all seasons starting in early spring with massed bulbs, flowers, shrubs and trees surrounding the house. Many of the plants are either grown from seed or propagated from cuttings by the owner, to give generous drifts of colour in wide mixed borders and in pots and planters on the terraces. Open by arrangement from April-September why not organise a private visit with the garden owner.

Also in Gloucestershire is Tree Hill, a small garden full of tropical plants. The garden owner has cleverly created the illusion of a jungle by raising the canopy of laurel and privet bushes and there are lots of interesting plant associations too. For details of opening times in August see: https://ngs.org.uk/view-garden/36463 

 

In Leicestershire 8 Hinckley Road and 28 Gladstone Street are excellent examples of good design in a small space. At Gladstone Street the mature 21 x 4.5 metre town garden is divided into rooms and bisected by a pond with a bridge. Brimming with unusual hardy perennials, including collections of ferns and hostas there are also David Austin roses chosen for their scent featuring throughout, including a 30 foot rose arch. With a shade house with unusual hardy plants and a Hosta Theatre there’s so much inspiration to take away. 

In London, where green space is at a premium, garden owners have been creating wonderful oases for decades. One of our new gardens in 2022 – 28a St Augustine’s Road – is a young garden at only four years old but looks lush and well established thanks to the plants that moved here with the new owner including bananas, ginger, cannas, tetrapanax and bamboos. A green fingered, self-taught plant lover’s garden with an emphasis on impressive foliage and interesting texture it opens with 13 Agar Grove, Flat A, a work in progress! 

Also new in London this year is 53 Lady Aylesford Avenue in Stanmore. A compact tropical fusion garden developed over the past four years, it’s set in a 20-year-old development of a Battle of Britain, RAF base. This delightful gem of a corner garden with water features and a stunning display of plants and flowers shows what can be achieved, even in a small space. Colours and textures blend effortlessly to create a harmonious space with exceptional attention to detail. 

 

Keeping with the 28a theme 28a Worcester Road in Walthamstow is a typical terraced back garden but transformed into a lush tropical oasis of foliage with a small stream and pond. Small and large leaves mix with floral accents and varying leaf textures from ferns, colocasia and bananas supported by a framework of larger established trees, jasmine, and tree ferns. A small gravel path leads you to a small seating area to reflect or sit on the patio and enjoy. 

New in Surrey is 6 Rowden Road, Epsom, a small 19 x 8 metre south facing garden, transformed from a plain lawn in spring 2020 to a plant lovers paradise. The owner is a garden designer, and the space is carefully planted with hardy exotics. Inspiration has come from world travels, in particular SE Asia and Indonesia. A large circular pond dominates the main garden, while raised beds home a succulent collection. 

Tucked behind early C19 cottages Piecemeal in Sutton Bonington, Nottinghamshire is a tiny walled garden featuring a wide range of unusual shrubs, many flowering and most displayed in around 400 terracotta pots bordering narrow paths. The focus is on distinctive form, foliage shape and colour combinations.  

 

Sussex has a wonderful portfolio of small gardens to explore including the inspirational 4 Ben’s Acre in Horsham, the quirky garden at Foxglove Cottage, a ¼ acre plantaholic’s garden, full of containers, vintage finds and quirky elements and the gorgeous woodland edge garden at 1 Pest Cottage. Designed to support wildlife and biodiversity, a series of outdoor living spaces are connected with informal paths through lightly managed areas, creating a charming secret world tucked into the surrounding common land. The garden spaces have made a very small house (not open) into a hospitable family home. 

35 Blount Avenue in East Grinstead, is where contemporary design meets colourful and exuberant planting in a south facing town garden. Colour themed large borders, tropical planting and pops of colour are on show in this contemporary owner designed garden. With the Worth Way Country Park as a backdrop, dahlias and a variety of interesting perennials feature alongside a front garden packed with beds of colour and changing seasonal displays. 

54 Elmleigh in Midhurst is a ⅕ acre property with terraced front garden, leading to a heavily planted rear garden with majestic 120-year-old black pines. Packed with interest around every corner there’s seasonal colour all year round. Amazingly, in this tiny space you’ll also find many raised beds, numerous sculptures, vegetables in boxes, a greenhouse, pond and hedgehogs in residence as well as a large collection of tree lilies! 

Jungles and Japanese themes abound in small gardens. Visit the Lindfield Jungle in East Sussex or the Japanese Garden in Bristol to get just what it says in the description. Or Acer Corner in Wendover for a wonderful Japanese feel and inspirational planting. There’s also a tiny tropical paradise at 12 Longmans Close in Hertfordshire.

 

John’s Corner in Bedminster is an unusual and interesting city garden with a mixture of exciting plants and features. Ponds, ferns and much more along with an Eden Project style greenhouse with a collection of cacti. 

There’s also a lovely, eclectic mix of small gardens on offer in Buckinghamshire with Woodside in Amersham, 8 Claremont Road in Marlow, 20 Whitepit Lane and 1 Talbot Avenue all offering fantastic small space inspiration.  

 

Cheshire has three gorgeous small gardens just bursting with atmosphere, ideas and wonderful planting. Parm Place in Great Budworth, Cheshire is a delightful, well-stocked ½ acre plantswoman’s garden with stunning views towards South Cheshire. Curving lawns, parterre, shrubs, colour coordinated herbaceous borders, roses, water features, rockery, gravel bed with some grasses along with fruit and vegetable plots mean it’s a garden packed with inspiration. In spring a large collection of bulbs and flowers, camellias, hellebores and blossom bring the garden to life.

The Homestead in, Knutsford, is a compact gem of a garden has been created over the last six years by a keen gardener and plantswoman. Winner of Period Living magazine’s Best Garden 2020 and featured in the June 2021 issue, this is a garden of delights just waiting to be explored.

And for inspiration of how to plant a perfect ¼ acre you can do no better than 10 Statham Avenue in Lymm. This peaceful, beautifully structured ¼ acre south facing garden is carefully terraced and planted rising to the Bridgewater towpath.  Discover more through a virtual visit here.

 

And who could resist the delightful Dorset garden at Castle Rings (pictured below).This small, long garden in two parts is laid out beside an Iron Age hillfort with spectacular views and opens in August.

 

Other small gardens to visit include:  

Railway Cottage, Hertforshire – https://ngs.org.uk/view-garden/35970

Field End House, Hertfordshire – https://ngs.org.uk/view-garden/31935 

28 Fishpool Street, Hertfordshire – https://ngs.org.uk/view-garden/35016 

41 Victoria Drive in Llandudno – https://ngs.org.uk/view-garden/29840 

Woodland in Northumberland – https://ngs.org.uk/view-garden/31398 

1 Church Bank, Welshpool – https://ngs.org.uk/view-garden/22703 

5 Whitehorn Drive, Wiltshire – https://ngs.org.uk/view-garden/34410 

Beaver Lodge, Cambridgeshire – https://ngs.org.uk/view-garden/30287 

Endhouse, Hampshire – https://ngs.org.uk/view-garden/37873 

15 Waite Davies Road, London opening in June 2022 – click here

3 The Barns, Ilkley, West Yorkshire – https://ngs.org.uk/view-garden/42397 

5 Hill Top, Ilkley, West Yorkshire – https://ngs.org.uk/view-garden/21574

 

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