Over the last 50 years I have visited public gardens all over the world in places like Japan, India, China, Greece, France etc. I have also visited many gardens in the UK.

I have been particularly interested in Japanese gardens and their representation of Nature and gardens displaying a wide range of plants in a natural setting.

Here are some of those gardens:

Daisen Inn Temple, Kyoto, Japan

In the Summer of 1996 in the same year that I bought The Cascades, I visited Kyoto, Japan. I wanted to re-visit one of the most famous and inspiring gardens The Daisen In, at Daitoku ji Monastery, Kyoto. I arranged to sit with the Abbot at 8.30am to have a tea ceremony and discussion with him on the meditation platform beside the garden. I admired the miniature garden of rocks, raked gravel and miniature trees representing a mountain valley and river going under a stone bridge and was inspired. I was fascinated and my spirit uplifted by the peaceful representation of a mountain valley.

The aim of a Japanese garden is typically to create a representation of nature in which human involvement is concealed and the garden at Daisen In was a superb example.

Bressingham Dell garde

Bressingham Gardens. The Dell Garden

Bressingham Gardens date back to the 1950’s when Alan Bloom converted his 150acres of land into the largest perennial nursery in Europe. His 5 acre Dell Garden introduced the idea of planting oval beds of perennials rather than straight borders along a wall or fence and displays a fabulous collection of flowers.

Hidcote Manor, Gloucestershire, UK

I have visited Hidcote many times over the years.The garden is divided into a series of ‘outdoor rooms’, each with its own character.Each garden room provides a new view and range of plants in which to sit and enjoy. The formality of the ‘rooms’ melts away as you move through the garden away from the house.

Passion for plants

Lawrence Johnston created the garden at Hidcote and was passionate about plants. He went to endless trouble and expense to find unusual varieties that would bring colour, scent, shape and texture to the garden from all over the world.

Foggy Bottom, Conifer garden, Bressingham, Norfolk

In the early 1970’s I visited this garden in it’s creative phase. Planted by Adrian Bloom this 6 acre conifer garden has developed significantly over the last 40 years to show how conifers can be laid out and under planted with great success.

In 2016 I re-visited the garden and was lucky enough to meet its creator Adrian Bloom. We discussed under planting of conifer and he recommended his book Blooms best perennials

One of the good things about conifers is that they show their form and texture all year round particularly when underplanted with grasses and other evergreen plants.

You can read more about my spiritual journey, which lead to the development of my garden for mindfulness and wellbeing at my blog website, gardenforwellbeing.com.  There you will find out about how to develop the techniques for gardening for wellbeing.