As our gardens are awakening from their winter slumber, there is a lot happening in gardens up and down our glorious country. I have been enjoying the delicate white and green hues of the snowdrop, the glistening yellow of the aconites, the amazing rainbow of colours of delicate crocuses, and fields of gold of the delightful daffodil.
As you can probably tell I love spring! I watch eagerly to see new growth appearing through the soil and grass each year.
Recently I had the pleasure of visiting a lovely garden – Forde Abbey and Gardens in Dorset (despite it’s Somerset address). It was a bit of a journey, but it was so worth it! I had visited a number of years ago, but on my search for new gardens highlighting particular flowers and seasons, I discovered that this would be a magnificent garden to see a sea of crocuses.
When we arrived we were notified of the best places to see the crocuses. As we made our way to the specific areas, you could tell that the garden was a labour of love, and definitely a garden for all seasons. The garden is well laid out with many sections of interest such as the kitchen garden, the abbey yard and the rock garden, with an amazing lake, and a famous 160 ft centenary fountain to enjoy.
Alan Titchmarsh describes the 30 acres of garden as –
‘One of the greatest gardens in the west country.’
When we finally arrived at the best view point for the crocuses, I was met with such a wonderful sight I was left speechless. It was truly wonderful, and it definitely had the ‘wow’ factor. As you looked at the thousands of crocuses sweeping across the lawns, the backdrop of the magnificent house finished the picture perfectly.
The crocuses were a mesmerising sea of lilac and purple, with daffodils setting the scene perfectly with their jewel like drops of gold.
Not only was the garden beautiful, but also the tearooms was very welcoming, with wonderfully cooked homemade meals. It was also really lovely to be inside in the warmth on a chilly day with our little dog.
This garden is firmly placed on my list of favourite gardens. If I lived closer I would probably visit it every month.
- The gardens are open everyday throughout the year from 10 am – 6.30pm (Last entry at 4.30pm)
- If you visit on a Tuesday – Friday, Sundays and Bank holidays from the 1st April, you can also enjoy the wonderful house.
- There is a tearoom, gift shop and plant centre.
- Ticket prices – please see their website for details – Forde Abbey and Gardens
- RHS members gain free entry from October – February.
- They also arrange special events throughout the year; you can also have your wedding there.
Quick overview of the gardens using some of our criteria
- Does the place accept dogs? Yes if the dog is kept on a lead.
- Do they provide bins? Yes
- Do they provide an area for refreshments for our furry friends? Yes they have water bowls outside their tearooms
- If visiting a place that has a café / restaurant / pub where are the dogs allowed to be? Dogs are welcome in the tearoom
Disability access –
- How accessible is the area? Most of the garden is accessible.
- Is parking near by? Yes there is a car park next to the gardens.
- Is the area suitable for wheelchairs – manual or electric? You can use either.
- Is there enough seating? In the areas I visited I didn’t see any, but it is still early in the season and there may be more added later.
- Are there disabled toilets? Yes
- Are there any steps? Access into buildings was good.
- If there are doors – how easy is to open them – fairly easy, but if in a wheelchair alone, you may need help in opening the doors.
- If the place visited has a café/restaurant are there alternatives for those on a gluten free diet? Yes, I had a lovely lentil and bacon soup and a choice of three delicious cakes in the Undercroft Tearoom.
- Do they cater for a vegetarian diet? Yes
Gardens – worth a visit?
- Highly recommended! A garden for all seasons!
- Definitely a gold star in my book
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