landscaped in the manner of Capability Brown and Trailing around a mile in length, Minterne boasts a world renowned and completely unique collection of Himalayan Rhododendrons and Azaleas, with Spring bulbs, Cherries, Maples and many fine and rare trees. Wander the trail and enjoy our chain of small lakes, waterfalls and streams. With an abundance to see from the snowdrops in winter, to spring bluebells through to summer azaleas and hydrangeas, the garden is full of interest throughout year.
With benches nestled throughout the garden, sit back, absorb the tranquillity, and remove the stresses of everyday.
Join us on our Spring Fair this May 8th
Our Gardens feature in The Telegraph’s top 25 gardens to visit. Come and see why we hit the top spot for ‘Best for Tranquility’.
We are taking all necessary precautions to safeguard our staff and visitors at this time, in compliance with government legislation
An island nation, our explorers are well known; from Drake, Raleigh, Captain Cook to the pilgrims on the Mayflower, our list of explorers is impressively endless…
An island nation, our explorers are well known; from Drake, Raleigh, Captain Cook to the pilgrims on the Mayflower, our list of explorers is impressively endless.
However, there is another group of unsung English explorers who remain unknown to many, the plant hunters of the Victorian times. This relatively inconspicuous group whose names include Kingdon Ward, George Forrest and Edmund Loder revolutionised/transformed the English garden as we know it.
Between 1850 and 1947, these impressive plant hunters voyaged across the world, sponsored by many amateur garden enthusiasts, under the umbrella of the Royal Horticultural Society. Lasting up to 6 years, each trip introduced countless new exotic species including Magnolias, Rhododendrons, Azaleas, to name but a few to English gardens; the seed was shared around the sponsors who propagated this as a basis for exotic subtropical shrub gardens. Minterne Gardens were at the forefront of planting these newly introduced species with the vast majority of species at Minterne being propagated from seed brought back by these explorers.
Gaining his name due to his observing a landscape and proclaiming “ah, it has capabilities”, Capability Brown revolutionised the English domestic landscape as we see it and is known as England’s greatest gardener and “the last of the great English 18th-century artists to be accorded his due”.
Before Robert Digby rode to Sherborne Castle to ‘pick the brains of Brown’, Minterne gardens were originally made up of a small stream below the house with a square bowling green and four rectangular paddocks or gardens, leading up to the house. However, Capability Brown’s style of smooth undulating grass running straight to the house, clumps, belts and scattering of trees, along with his serpentine lakes formed by invisibly damming small rivers, swept away all the remnants of the previous formally patterned style.
As we see it today, Minterne Gardens is made up of a series of small lakes and cascades created by the small stream being dammed up. The original square gardens were swept away, many trees planted both exotic and indigenous providing a oasis of calm. Whilst the hills are chalk, the garden is situated on a mound of green sand which runs for a mile down the centre of the valley. A combination of this, the humus and dappled shade provided by the large beech tress, provided the perfect setting for the Rhododendrons and Magnolias obtained during the Wilson, Forrest, Rock and Kingdon Ward expeditions to the Himalayas. With the horizon ever growing, we are continuing the work of those early explorers by continuing to add new and exciting plants to the garden gathering horticultural delights for the future. Today, Minterne’s 20 acre woodland garden are laid out in a horseshoe over the course of a mile creating a breath taking landscape.