Gardens for Photographers – Part One

Taste in gardens – as in most things – is subjective. A much loved destination that one person may visit again and again in all seasons, may be considered by another to be too formal, lacking in interest, overgrown or poorly designed.

This is the first in a series of posts featuring gardens that I enjoy – and that I think offer photographers great opportunities to capture stunning images. Here I list only five of the very many gardens that I count among my favourites – I look forward to sharing details of some of the others with you soon.

Kiftsgate Court Gardens – Gloucestershire

Kiftsgate Court - Water Garden in June

The Water Garden at Kiftsgate Court, Gloucestershire was created on the site of an old tennis court. Water drips into the pool from 24 gilded bronze philodendron leaves mounted on stainless steel stems.

Located close to the famous Hidcote Manor Gardens, Kiftsgate Court is a delightful destination. Created by three women gardeners, the present owner Anne Chambers, her mother Diany Binny and grandmother Heather Muir, the gardens boast many superbly photogenic areas. These include the Four Squares and Terrace, the White Sunk Garden and the modern Water Garden. More photos of Kiftsgate Court can be seen in the garden’s gallery on my main website.

Norton Priory Walled Garden – Cheshire

Norton Priory Walled Garden - Path and Herbaceous Plants

The two and a half acre walled garden at Norton Priory, Runcorn, was built between 1757 and 1770. Restoration work started in 1980 and it now offers spectacular displays of herbaceous plants, as well as fulfilling its main function as a kitchen garden.

The 2.5 acre walled garden at Norton Priory, near Runcorn, was built between 1757 and 1770. Rescued from dereliction in the 1980s, it now features an attractive cottage garden, near the Gardener’s Cottage, as well as colourful borders, fruit, vegetable and herb gardens, an orchard and a croquet lawn. I particularly enjoy the Rose Walk – and the lush borders, tumbling with bloom, are very photogenic at the height of summer. More photos of Norton Priory Walled Garden can be seen in the Gardens L to Z gallery on my main website.

Tatton Park – Cheshire

Tatton Park - Mansion in Late Summer

The mansion at Tatton Park, Cheshire was originally built in 1716, but was mostly replaced by the neo-classical house we see today, between the 1770s and 1816.

The gardens at Tatton Park are outstanding and attract visitors from across the world. They cover more than 50 acres and feature many distinct and beautiful areas. These include the formal Italian Garden, where you can photograph the elaborate borders and terraces as well as the impressive neoclassical mansion. The Japanese Garden, built in the early 20th century and restored in 2001, is one of the most authentic examples of its kind in Europe. It features a Shinto shrine, an attractive lake, bridges and a mound, capped with white stones, symbolising Mount Fuji. There are many seasonal highlights for photographers at Tatton, such as rhododendrons and azaleas blooming in spring; colourful displays of bedding, perennials and roses in summer; and acers ablaze with autumn colour in the Japanese Garden. More photos can be seen in the Tatton Park Gardens gallery on my main website.

Trentham Gardens – Staffordshire

Trentham Gardens - View across Gardens

A view across the Trentham Gardens, towards the lake.

Winner of the 2010 European Garden Award for Best Historic Garden Restoration, Trentham Gardens is the result of a 14 year restoration project. Photographers can choose to capture the grand sweep of the Italianate garden, with its lake, avenues and statues – or focus on the dazzling array of blues, pinks, reds, purples and yellows provided by the prairie-style planting of herbaceous perennials elsewhere in the gardens. More photos can be seen in the Trentham Gardens gallery on my main website.

Wollerton Old Hall Garden – Shropshire

Wollerton Old Hall Garden - Rose Garden, Nepata and Path

A path through the Rose Garden at Wollerton Old Hall Garden, Shropshire.

This is a beautiful, superbly designed and planted garden offering photographers the opportunity to take great pictures throughout the year. Located near Market Drayton, in Shropshire, Wollerton Old Hall Gardens is made up of distinctive sections, each with its own design and planting scheme. There is The Rill Garden, perfect in its symmetry, featuring a wide upper and narrow lower rill, York Stone paving and two rows of Buxus sempervirens balls. Another highlight is The Sundial Garden which features a lavish show of herbaceous perennials, such as phlox paniculata and delphiniums, in high summer. Visit in spring and you can photograph incredible displays of tulips, both in pots and planted in the borders. More photos of this wonderful destination can be seen in the Wollerton Old Hall Garden gallery on my main website.

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