Open gardens in Dorset - April 2017

PUBLISHED: 11:32 04 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:32 04 April 2017

A rose rambles over the top of a swing seat in the Sitting Spiritually Garden

A rose rambles over the top of a swing seat in the Sitting Spiritually Garden


Dazzling displays of daffodils, candelabra primulas and tulips feature in many of these Dorset gardens opening for the NGS in April and over the Easter holidays

5 Easter gardens visits

Old Smithy

It is well worth driving the twisty narrow lanes to reach this 2 1/2 acre country garden. Admire spring bulbs in profusion, and a succession of ponds with candelabra primulas, hellebores and aquilegia. Homemade teas in the Village Hall.

• Open: Easter Saturday 15 April, 2-5pm

• Where: Ibberton DT11 0EN

Chideock Manor

Formal and informal gardens feature including a bog garden beside the stream with a series of ponds. Woodland and lakeside walks. Walled vegetable garden and orchard. Partial wheelchair access. Homemade teas.

• Open: Easter Sunday 16 April & 28 April, 2-5pm

• Where: Chideock, Bridport DT6 6LF

Herons Mead

A plant lovers garden full of spring bulbs, with many hellebores, pulmonaria and fritillaries. Wildlife pond and tiny woodland. Homemade teas.

• Open: Easter Sunday, 16 April, 2-5pm

• Where: East Burton Road, Wool BH20 6HF

Ivy House Garden

An unusual and challenging 1/2 acre garden set on a steep hillside with fine views. Hellebores, daffodils and tulips in abundance in the spring. Run or organic lines to attract wildlife. Come prepared for steep terrain. Homemade teas.

• Open: Easter Monday 17 April & 30 April, 2- 5pm

• Where: Piddletrenthide DT2 7QF

Old Rectory

A 5 acre garden developed by the current owners over 20 years. Formal areas near the house, naturalistic planting elsewhere. Many bulbs including fritillaries, erythroniums and wood anemones. An extensive bog garden with pond and stream planted with candelabra primulas and other moisture lovers.

• Open: Easter Sunday, 16 April & 18 April, 11am - 5pm

• Where: Netherbury, Beaminster DT6 5NB

5 Garden Events in April

Specialist Charity Plant Fair - 10 April

Over 30 specialist nurseries from the south west come together at this popular plant fair at Mapperton House and Gardens, near Beaminster (10am – 4pm). More details

Talk on the Rose Gardens of Mottisfont Abbey - 13 April

Jonny Norton, head gardener of National Trust Mottisfont Abbey in Romsey, talks about managing its magnificent rose gardens. 7pm for 7.30pm, Kingston Maurward College, Dorchester, DT2 8PY.

Specialist Nurseries Plant Fair - 22 April

Meet expert growers and buy top-quality, locally grown camellias, blueberries, azaleas, ferns and perennials alongside Knoll’s own multiple award-winning grasses which have won numerous golds at Chelsea. Local wildlife organisations, plant societies and willow weaver also attending. Free event at Knoll Gardens, Hampreston (10am – 4pm)

Knoll Gardens & Ferndown Common Walk - 25 April

Join Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Nicky Hoar and Knoll Garden’s Neil Lucas on this guided walk looking at the similarities and differences of the landscapes that have shaped east Dorset’s horticulture and wildlife. Starts 2pm, limited numbers, booking essential on 01202 692033.

Sitting Spiritually Open Weekend - 29 – 30 April

The Sitting Spiritually Garden near Lyme Regis has had a major redesign by RHS Gold Winning Garden Designers Jarmanmurphy. To celebrate this the award-winning swing seat maker is opening their garden to the public, also attending will be Robert James Sculpture, Adrian Gray Stone Balancing, Lucy Young Art, Jarmanmurphy Garden Design & Joshua Rose Shepherd Huts. Open 10am-5pm, entry and parking are free. More at

More open gardens


A modern town cottage garden, packed with bulbs in the spring. Gazebo, statues, water and topiary. Homemade teas.

Open: 2, 9 & 23 April, 2-5pm

Where: 113 Bridport Road, Dorchester DT1 2NH

The Old Vicarage

Award-winning wildlife friendly garden with swathes of crocus, tulips, primulas, and many varieties of daffodil. Sit by the bubbling stream or look at the reflections in the swimming pond. Children can pond-dip, dogs are welcome. Homemade teas.

Open: 5, 7, 12, 19, 21, 26 & 28 April, 2-5pm

Where: East Orchard, Shaftesbury SP7 0BA

Edmondsham House

Six acres of mature gardens with much to explore, including the 12th century church adjacent to the garden. The large Victorian walled garden is productive, and managed organically. Tea, coffee and cakes between 3.30 and 4pm (except 17 April.)

Open: 5, 12, 17 (Easter Monday), 19 & 26 April, 2-5pm

Where: Edmondsham, Wimborne BH21 5RE

Cranborne Manor Garden

Beautiful and historic garden laid out by John Tradescant in the 17th Century, and enlarged in the 20th Century. It features several gardens, surrounded by walls and yew hedges, with fine trees, water, and a wild garden.

Open: For the NGS on 19 April, 9.30am - 4pm

Where: Cranborne BH21 5PP

Little Cliff

A finalist in the Daily Mail Garden of the Year, this spacious sloping garden faces southward with spectacular views over Lyme Bay. Walk down the hillside through a series of garden rooms, where visual treats unfold. Mature specimen trees, shrubs and climbers, with a jungle walkway at the bottom of the garden.

Open: 20 & 23 April, 2-5pm

Where: Sidmouth Road, Lyme Regis DT7 3EQ

22 Holt Road

A 3/4 acre walled garden for all seasons. Walk up the slope beside the bog garden, to the raised-bed vegetable garden and then back to the waterfall which cascades on to a pebble beach. Homemade teas.

Open: 23 April, 2-5pm

Where: Branksome, Poole BH12 1JQ

Latest from the Dorset