The National Garden Scheme’s Open Gardens event is back, offering access to some amazing, flower-filled private green spaces across the UK this spring and summer. Nearly 200 gardens across London have signed up. Here, The Resident picks out some of the best…
Lead image: 51 The Chase, Clapham (photo: Matthew Bruce)
1 51 The Chase, Clapham
Open 25 & 27 April
Charles Rutherfoord, a member of the Society of Garden Designers, and his partner Rupert Tyler have created this spectacular Clapham garden over 35 years. In 2015 the main garden was remodelled, to much acclaim. Some 2,000 tulips bloom in spring, making this one a must-visit, with camellias, irises and tree peonies adding to the effect. A geodetic dome greenhouse shelters seedlings, succulents and subtropicals. There’s also a scented front garden and, later in the season, roses, brugmansia (angel’s trumpet), hibiscus and dahlias. Adults £4.50, kids free. Open 12pm-5pm on 25 April and 5pm-8pm on 27 April. Also open 4 July, 8 August and 3 October (12pm-5pm).
51 The Chase, Clapham SW4 0NP; ngs.org.uk
2 Eccleston Square, Victoria
Open Sunday 23 May
Planned by Cubitt in 1828, Eccleston Square is a private communal garden for residents of Eccleston Square. Located off Belgrave Road near Victoria Station, the three-acre square is subdivided into mini gardens with camellias, iris, ferns and containers. There’s a dramatic collection of tender climbing roses and 20 different forms of tree peonies, as well as a National Collection of ceanothus that features more than 70 species and cultivars and tender plants of note being grown and tested. 2pm-5pm. Adult £5, kids free.
Eccleston Square, Victoria SW1V 1NP; ngs.org.uk
3 Forest Hill Garden Group
Open 23 May
If you want to make an afternoon of it, this garden collective in Forest Hill is just the ticket. Five lively gardens in eclectic and differing styles, all within a short walk of each other near the Horniman Museum, offer fine views over the Downs. There’s an intricately planted sloping woodland garden with curved mixed borders, the walled courtyard of an artist’s 18th century coach house with water features, sculptures and unusual wisteria, and a country-style garden with vegetable and cutting beds, meadow and chickens. Plants, ceramics and sculptures are for sale. Admission £8 (for access to all five gardens).
Behind the Horniman Museum & Gardens, Forest Hill SE23 3BJ; ngs.org.uk
4 5 St Regis Close, Muswell Hill
Open Sunday 2 May
Featured on Channel 4’s All Gardens Great and Small, this Muswell Hill garden is a cornucopia of sensual delights. As well as an Oriental tea house overlooking a wildlife-friendly pond with carp, there’s a baroque temple, pagodas, a Raku-tiled mirrored wall concealing a plant nursery, a pottery and even a ‘Liberace terrace’ complete with candelabra. In terms of flora, you’ll find a beautiful weeping willow and abundant planting including neatly edged borders full of tulips and forget-me-nots, container plants, cotinus coggygria, wisteria and succulents. 2pm-6pm. Adults £4, kids free. Also open 20 June & 25 July.
5 St Regis Close, Alexandra Park Road, Muswell Hill N10 2DE; ngs.org.uk
5 Edwardes Square in Kensington
Postponed till September
Edwardes Square in Kensington is one of London’s prettiest secluded garden squares. Its three-and-a-half acres are laid out differently from other squares, with serpentine paths by Italian artist and decorator Agostino Agliothe, who lived at number 15 from 1814-1820. There’s also a beautiful Grecian temple and a romantic rose tunnel that winds its way through the middle of the garden, as well as a great display of bulbs and blossoms. Unfortunately, this garden opening has been postponed till September.
South Edwardes Square, Kensington W8 6HL; ngs.org.uk
For more open gardens in London, the Home Counties and across the UK, see ngs.org.uk