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Gardening skills and inspiration

Get some garden design inspiration by visiting one of the Test Valley’s beautiful gardens.

Sir Harold Hilliers is a world-renowned garden arboretum at the forefront of nurturing and sustaining national collections for the enjoyment and education of everyone, both now and in the future. Outstanding features include the splendour of the seasonal planting displays set in 180 acres, and it is home to the UK’s largest collection of Champion Trees – the biggest, rarest or oldest of their kind. Sir Harold Hilliers run a number of garden tours and workshops throughout the year for budding gardeners and those wanting to fine tune their skills. Find out more.

Houghton Lodge Gardens are set above the tranquil waters of the famous River Test. The new oriental garden that opened at the beginning of June is worth a visit where you can explore its cherry orchard, rose garden and enjoy the exquisite joinery of the beautiful Torii Arch, Moon Gate and Nikko Bridge, as well as new water-loving marginal plants growing on the banks of the pond and island, and a moss garden on the bank of the stream. The Moon Gate provides a doorway between the new oriental garden and the old eighteenth century garden leading visitors to the acer walk which takes you into the park. Visitors can make a wish by tying a ribbon to the branches of the twisted willow – a popular Japanese custom. Find out more.

With sweeping lawns, formal and informal gardens and water meadows, walled garden with its heritage apple orchard, kitchen garden and flower borders, the gardens of National Trust property Mottisfont, are famous for its National Collection of old-fashioned roses, flowering once a year in June in the Walled Garden and at other times of the year lots of other seasonal plants and flowers. You can also draw inspiration from the innovative Kitchen Garden. Find out more.

Longstock Water Gardens offers plenty of design ideas - a giant yet intimate garden which attracts visitors from all over the world. The garden is a true spectacle, hosting an array of plants from around the globe, with over forty different Waterlilies alone! Find out more.

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