THE GARDENS

Winner of the North Shropshire Tourism 'Best Garden Attraction' 2001, 2002, 2003 and subject of numerous BBC radio and television programmes

The driving force behind the current layout of the gardens was the present occupant’s father, Brigadier A.G.W. Heber-Percy. In the 1920s he set out to create a union between the old grounds of the earlier mansion and the newer gardens of the present house. He built the dykes and damned the stream to make a chain of pools which animate the gardens to this day.

Over 60 acres of brilliantly coloured flowers, magnificent forest trees, sweeping lawns and a chain of ornamental pools which run tranquilly along the cultivated garden valley to provide a natural habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. No matter what the season, visitors will always find something fresh and interesting to ensure an enjoyable day’s outing.

April brings to Hodnet a wealth of daffodils which have helped to make the garden famous. Rhododendrons thrive in the acid soil and a great number of varieties are in bloom throughout March to July. Azaleas, camellias, lysichiton, berberis, prunus, halesia and osmanthus can all be seen in profusion as spring brings new life to the gardens.

May adds new colour as later flowering magnolias, azaleas, primulas and wisteria burst into flower. New varieties of rhododendron and prunus flourish, complemented by cornus, viburnum, acers, malus and many other highly coloured shrubs planted in the garden against a backdrop of magnificent oaks, sycamores, lime and beech trees.

June more colour in the form of laburnum, pieris, davida, philadelphus and peonies among many other ‘English Garden’ and exotic species. In late June the herbaceous plants geranium, helenium and erigeron all vie for attention with the wealth of primulas, Erica, tree paeonies, delphiniums and many other species adding their own special beauty to the gardens.

July roses and many varieties now come into bloom, from the beds of scented shrub roses to the circular plantings of roses, paeonies and hydrangeas. This makes July one of the most delightful times of the year at Hodnet. The plantings of fuchsia add vibrance of their own and more exotic flora are represented by the towering yuccas, bamboos and many different varieties of fern.

August, the perfect time to visit the Water Gardens with their small pools and waterfalls surrounded by great drifts of white roses and bright red astilbes. Stepping stones wind lazily through rich plantings of candelabra primulas, giant leaved gunneras and spireas. White, pink and yellow water lilies carry colour across the pools to break the reflections of the overhanging trees and shrubs.

September and as the nights draw in, the garden landscape becomes still richer. The many varieties of acer and birches, sorbus, berberis and cotoneaster are just a few examples of the trees and shrubs making up a bright autumn display.