21 Glorious Dorset gardens to visit in June

Part of the garden and grounds of Ferne Park near Shaftesbury in Dorset

Part of the garden and grounds of Ferne Park near Shaftesbury, opening exclusively for the NGS - Credit: Jonathan and Claudia Rothermere

This month's National Garden Scheme (NGS) openings in Dorset include exclusive events in some very special private gardens and three inspirational rewilding projects with stunning wildflower meadows 

The Secret Garden Serles House: Described by Alan Titchmarsh as ‘one of the best 10 private gardens in Britain’, admire ingenious use of unusual plants and a treasure trove of garden objects d’art. One of NGS Dorset’s most popular gardens, it was nurtured by the late Ian Willis for over 40 years.    

Open: May 28 & June 11 (10am-4pm) 

Where: 47 Victoria Road, Wimborne BH21 1EN 

Gravel courtyard at The Secret Garden at Serles House in Wimborne Minster in Dorset

The Secret Garden at Serles House in Wimborne Minster - Credit: Phil Broomfield

The Manor House: Stunning parkland in the heart of Beaminster with mature specimen trees, lake and waterfall, woodland walk, wildflower meadow and walled garden. Ornamental ducks, black swans, pigmy goats, chickens and guinea pigs. Great family day out.   

Open: June 4 - 5 (11am – 5pm) 

Where: North Street, Beaminster DT8 3DZ 

Flower filled summer borders at The Manor House, in the heart of Beaminster in Dorset

The stunning gardens at The Manor House, in the heart of Beaminster - Credit: Christine Wood

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Kings Barrow: A fascinating garden, with many old and established trees. Herbaceous borders dominate, an avenue of yews leads to woodland walk encompassing an ancient barrow. Walled garden split into vegetable patch, cutting patch and party area. Roses abound throughout. 

Open: June 4 - 5 (1-5pm)  

Where: Wareham BH20 5AJ 

White Cliff Manor: Beautiful walled garden, with fabulous sea views, terraced and divided into rooms by yew hedges. Vegetable gardens, orchard, mature mulberry trees and ancient tower.  

Open: June 4 - 5 (2- 5.30pm) 

Where: Whitecliff Road, Swanage BH19 1RL  

Holme for Gardens, sculpture and summer flowers in purples and whites near Wareham in Dorset

Holme for Gardens, formal and informal gardens strongly influenced by Hidcote Manor and The Laskett - Credit: holmeforgardens.co.uk

Holme for Gardens: Extensive formal and informal gardens influenced by Hidcote Manor and The Laskett. Distinct ‘rooms’ separated by hedges and taller planting. Extensive collection of trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. Spectacular wildflower meadows. Grass amphitheatre, Holme henge garden, lavender avenue, cutting garden, pear tunnel, hot borders, white borders, ornamental grasses, unusual trees and shrubs.  

Open: June 7 (10am - 4.30pm) 

Where: West Holme Farm, Wareham BH20 6AQ 

South Eggardon House: 5 acres of formal and informal gardens designed around a 2000-year-old yew tree and lake. Water garden with stream, pond and lake. Orchard, wild garden, large herbaceous borders filled with roses and perennials. Ornamental kitchen garden. Pre-booked tickets only.   

Open: June 10 (2 – 4.30pm)  

Where: Askerswell DT2 9EP 

Little Benville House: Contemporary garden, with landscape interventions by Harris Bugg Studio within a varied ecological ANOB. Herbaceous borders, woodland planting, walled vegetable and cutting garden, cloud pruned topiary, ha-ha, ornamental and productive trees and a listed moat. Open the same day as the Rampisham Gardens (June 12) just a mile up the road. 

Open: June 11 – 12 (11am – 5pm) 

Where: Benville Lane, Corscombe DT2 0NN 

Group Opening: Rampisham Gardens: Explore eight gardens ranging from large with perennial borders, roses and shrubs such as Pugin Hall, an old walled garden developed as a flower garden with topiary, standard trees and soft floral planting and new cottage gardens with an array of floral colour, fruit trees and vegetables. Attractions including woodturning, Blue Bowl gifts, local landscape paintings by Esther Jeanes, award-winning Capreolus Smokery is open and plants for sale at Broomhill.  

Open: June 12 (11am-5pm) 

Where: Rampisham DT2 0PU 

Gardens at Carraway Barn in Marnhull in Dorset

Gardens at Carraway Barn in Marnhull - Credit: Catherine & Mark Turner

Carraway Barn: Immaculate 2-acre garden with natural swimming pond, large shrub border, waterfall and wildflower area (with beehives). White border of hydrangeas, hostas and ferns lead to the established walled garden, where deep borders are planted with roses, peonies, alliums, geraniums and topiary, encircling a waterlily pond.  

Open: June 12, 16 and 19 (2-5pm) 

Where: Carraway Lane, Marnhull DT10 1NJ 

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum: Stunning sub-tropical garden on Bournemouth cliff top. Areas retain original 1901 design conceived by the founders such as the ivy clad grotto and Japanese influence.  

Open: June 18 (2-5pm) 

Where: East Cliff, Bournemouth BH1 3AA 

Sub-tropical gardens at Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum in Bournemouth in Dorset

Sub-tropical gardens at Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum in Bournemouth - Credit: russellcotes.com

The garden at Shute Farm offers wonderful views over the Donheads 

The garden at Shute Farm offers wonderful views over the Donheads - Credit: John & Caroline David

Shute Farm: Charming cottage garden. Small stream, pond, kitchen garden and wildflower area. Neat and tidy flower beds gradually morph into a wild garden as they join the fields. Magnificent views over the Donheads. 

Open: June 25 - 26 (2-5pm)  

Where: Donhead St Mary SP7 9DG 

Find more details on all these gardens and more openings at ngs.org.uk

Special Garden Events in Dorset

These are private gardens where the open day events offer something extra such a talk by the head gardener, special refreshments or privileged access. 

Eastington Farm gardens in Dorset set within drystone walls of Purbeck stone

Eastington Farm, part of a special two garden open day with Encombe House - Credit: Rachel James

Eastington Farm & Encombe House: Special pre-ticketed event, includes two amazing Dorset gardens as well as lunch. The garden at Eastingston Farm sits within Purbeck drystone walls and is divided into different ‘rooms’ with planting themes. Formal yew hedge pyramids, lonicera balls and cloud topiary alongside soft floral planting, an orchard of wild flowers, and vegetable garden. The garden of historic Encombe House has a modern, sympathetic design by Tom Stuart-Smith with large sweeping borders filled with grasses and perennials, alongside extensive lawns, a lake and deep herbaceous beds. Light buffet lunch at Encombe followed by introductory talk by the owners and a chance to explore the gardens with the gardening team. 

Open: June 7 (10.30am - 5pm) 

Where: Worth Matravers BH19 3LF/ Kingston BH20 5LW 

 Purple and white themed gardens at Encombe House in Dorset

Stunning gardens at Encombe House which are opening alongside nearby Eastington Farm - Credit: James & Arabella Gaggero

Shute House: Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, one of our finest landscape architects, created a water garden here in 1969 for Lady Anne and Captain Michael Tree. River Nadder is diverted into canals, waterfalls, rills and mysterious pools through a series of atmospheric garden ‘rooms’. Enjoy a private guided tour with the owner, Suzy Lewis, and a light lunch with wine at this special pre-ticketed event.  

Open: June 8 (11.30am-3pm)  

Where: Donhead St. Mary SP7 9DG 

Restored walled garden at Ellerslie in Cattistock in Dorset

Restored walled garden at Ellerslie in Cattistock - Credit: Sue & David Orr

Ellerslie: A large restored 19th century walled garden with formal lawn and paths with box/yew on three sides framed by densely planted borders, north and south facing beds with coordinating cool tones, the west facing border divided by a water feature and warm colours. Fourth side is a wide terrace with two rose borders. Pre-booked tickets only.  

Open: June 15 & August 24 (11am-12.30pm) 

Where: Cattistock DT2 0JL 

Purple and white planting in the gardens at Norwood House in Corscombe in Dorset

Purple and white planting at Norwood House in Corscombe - Credit: Jonathan and Rosie Lewis

An Enchanted Evening at Norwood House: The gardens here are full of subtle floral colour, with glorious purple, pink and white borders surrounding the house and lawns. Box topiary provides formal structure, interspersed with soft planting of verbena, grasses and crocosmia. In front of the house is a large wild flower meadow and lake offering spectacular views. Limited number of prebooked tickets available for an exclusive evening fundraising event, with music provided by The String Quartet and a light buffet with wine.  

Open: June 17 (5pm - 8.30pm)  

Where: Corscombe DT2 0PD 

Bembury Farm: Herbaceous borders informally planted with interesting perennials around unusual trees, shrubs and roses. Large collection of clematis, woodland walk, wildflower corner, lily pond, oak circle, yew hedges with peacock, clipped hornbeam round kitchen garden. Limited number of pre-booked tickets for these open days, including a private tour and an introductory talk on the garden by the owners Sir John and Lady Garnier.  

Open: June 22 & July 6 (2-4pm) 

Where: Bembury Lane, Thornford DT9 6QF 

Gardens at Bembury Farm in Thornford in Dorset

Bembury Farm gardens with its clipped peacock hedge - Credit: Lord and Lady Garnier

Harvard Farm: Created from farm yards in 1993, on a very exposed site, by planting shelter belts, demolishing buildings and removing concrete. Now mature but always changing, features include the Millennium Mount, an apple tunnel, artwork by Tim Hobson and different topiary styles. Jake Hobson, founder of Niwaki, has introduced a Japanese influence to evergreens which contrasts well with English planting. Limited number of pre-booked tickets includes introductory talk on the development of the gardens 

Open: June 22 (2.30-4.30pm) 

Where: Closworth Road, Halstock BA22 9SZ 

Part of the formal private gardens of Ferne Park in Dorset

Ferne Park near Shaftesbury opens exclusively for the NGS this month - Credit: Jonathan and Claudia Rothermere

Ferne Park: An exceptional garden which combines the formal, with topiary, classical sculptures and fountains with a kitchen garden and soft woodland planting and deep herbaceous borders. Box parterres and a double avenue of more than 400 lime trees. Glass houses supply an abundance of fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Limited number of prebooked tickets available for this special event which includes a private tour of gardens and grounds, hosted by the owners, Jonathan and Claudia Rothermere, followed by a buffet lunch. Ferne Park, alongside Encombe is the star of the show for this NGS season in Dorset. 

Open: June 30 (11am – 5pm) 

Where: Ferne, Shaftesbury SP7 0EU 

All these events have limited tickets that must be pre-booked at ngs.org.uk/dorset-special-garden-events/

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3 Dorset Rewilding Projects  

Wildflower meadows and driftwood stags at Hooke Farm in Dorset

Wildflower meadows and driftwood stags at Hooke Farm - Credit: Julia Hailes MBE & Jamie Macdonald

Hooke Farm: The owners have transformed this into a wildlife haven with bird boxes, bat caves, butterfly and bee-friendly wildflower meadows. Series of ponds in a wetland area, orchard, woodland planting interlinked with mown paths through swaying grass. Standing stones, giant throne and driftwood stags. Talks and guided tours on both afternoons covering various aspects of rewilding and environmentally friendly gardening.  

Open: June 11 - 12 (10.30am-5.30pm) 

Where: Hooke DT8 3NZ 

Wyke Farm: Herbaceous borders and lawns around the farmhouse. Rose garden leads to woodland garden, then a more formal courtyard garden that leads through the barn to a kitchen garden. Wildflower meadows, part of a rewilding project, at the front of the house.  

Open: June 18 - 19 (9.30am-5pm) 

Where: Chedington, Beaminster DT8 3HX 

Wildflower meadows in full bloom at Hogchester near Charmouth in Dorset

Stunning wildflower meadows at Hogchester near Charmouth - Credit: hogchester.com

Hogchester Farm: Nature and nurture come together on this former 75-acre dairy farm. Working closely with the Dorset Wildlife Trust, Hogchester now has some of the best wildflower meadows in Dorset, filled with local flora and fauna and an abundance of insects. A great family day out with treasure hunts in the meadow, rare breed sheep, goats, pigs and horses to meet, and horticulture-based therapy for wellbeing. 

Open: June 25 (9am-6pm)  

Where: Axminster Road, Charmouth DT6 6BY

Click here to find more details on these and other NGS venues opening across Dorset