These Dorset gardens are part of the National Garden Scheme and are renowned for their spring bulb displays

Edmondsham House

Lovely mature 6-acre garden, full of spring colour with daffodils and tulips, surrounding 16th/18th century house, with 12th century church adjacent to garden. Large Victorian walled garden is productive and managed organically (since 1984) using 'no dig' vegetable beds. Wide herbaceous borders planted for seasonal colour. Traditional potting shed, cob wall, sunken greenhouse. Tea, coffee and cake 3.30 to 4pm, Wednesdays only.

Open for NGS: April 1 & Wednesdays from April 3-24 (2-5pm).

Location: Edmondsham, Wimborne BH21 5RE


Knitson Old Farmhouse 

Mature cottage garden nestled under chalk downland. Herbaceous borders, rockeries, climbers and shrubs, evolved and designed over 60 years by the owner for year-round colour. Wildlife friendly, sustainable kitchen garden includes 20+ different fruits. Historical stone artefacts, ancient trees and shrubs are part of the integral design. Cream teas, cakes and savoury pastries.

Opening: April 1 (12-5pm)

Location: Corfe Castle BH20 5JB


A former farmyard transformed into a delightful, tranquil garden. Clipped box, island beds and deep borders planted with shrubs, roses, grasses, masses of unusual perennials and choice annuals to give vibrancy and colour well into the autumn. Lawns and paths lead to a less formal area with large wildlife pond, meadow, shaded areas, bog garden. Orchard and veg garden. Plants for sale, delicious homemade teas (inc. gluten free).

Opening: April 21 (2-5pm)

Location: Rampisham DT2 0PT

Frankham Farm

Large farm garden of 3 ½ acres, created since 1960 (by the late Jo Earle) for year-round interest with deep borders surrounding lawns near the house and large vegetable garden. Wonderful range of tree species, some quite rare. Clematis and other climbers. Many spring bulbs. BBQ with our own farm produced beef, lamb and pork, vegetarian soup, homemade cakes made by village bakers.

Opening: April 21 (12-5pm)

Location: Ryme Intrinseca DT9 6JT

Slape Manor

This river valley garden is in a process of a glorious transformation. Spacious lawns, wildflower meadows, and primula fringed streams leading down to a lake. Walk over the stream with magnificent hostas, gunneras and horizontal Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans' around the lake. Borders by the house are filled with peonies, roses, shrubs and some unusual and rare plants. Tulips in shades of peach, purple and orange will be out in April. Wonderful large terrace with views across the garden. Lovely homemade teas.

Opening: April 21 (1am-5pm)

Location: Netherbury DT6 5LH

Horn Park

This large plantsman's garden offers magnificent views over the Dorset countryside towards the sea and across the valley to Beaminster. Many rare and mature plants and shrubs in terraced, herbaceous, rock and water gardens. Woodland garden and walks in bluebell woods. Good amount of spring interest with magnolia, rhododendron and bulbs. Visit the woodland garden to the left as you face the valley, which will be stunning in April. Homemade teas.

Opening: April 24 (2.30-4.30pm)

Location: Tunnel Road, Beaminster DT8 3HB

The Old Vicarage, East Orchard

A wonderful garden to visit in spring, with fine displays of daffodils and tulips. New additional acre of garden planted with trees and a wildlife garden. Pond dipping, swing and other children's attractions to keep all ages entertained. Homemade teas with cakes (inc gluten free, and vegan). Not suitable for wheelchairs if very wet.

Opening: April 26 & 28 (2-5pm)

Location: near Shaftesbury SP7 0BA

Great British Life: The Old Rectory, Litton Cheney. The Old Rectory, Litton Cheney. (Image: Christopher Middleton)

The Old Rectory, Litton Cheney

Featured on BBC Gardeners World in December 2023, this garden looks amazing at whatever time of year you visit. The Arne Maynard designed front garden, with pleached crabtree border and topiary, is spectacular with deep borders filled with tulips in all the sweet colours of purple, peach and orange. The 4-acre natural woodland garden is so pretty at this time of year with running streams and large ponds, bordered with Symphytum, wood anemones and primulas. Walled garden with informal planting, kitchen garden, orchard and 350 rose bushes for a cut flower business. Homemade teas.

Opening: April 28 (11am-5pm)

Location: near Dorchester DT2 9AH

Western Gardens

Created over 40 years, this secluded one acre garden captures the spirit of warmer climes with its Mediterranean courtyard. Especially lovely in spring are the woodland gardens, cherry tree and camellia walk. Absolutely packed with plants and lush foliage, deep herbaceous borders offer vibrant floral colour throughout the year, enhanced by wood sculpture and topiary. Plants as well as homemade jams and chutneys for sale. Wheelchair access to ¾ garden. Homemade teas.

Opening: April 28 (2-5.30pm)

Location: 24A Western Avenue, Branksome Park BH13 7AN

Great British Life: Elephant fountain in one of the seven individual garden rooms at Crichel House.Elephant fountain in one of the seven individual garden rooms at Crichel House. (Image: Alison Wright)

Special Opening: Crichel House

The 60-acre park, 40-acre lake and 3-acre walled garden surrounding Crichel House near Wimborne is split into three distinctive parts. Mature trees including exceptional cedars form the backdrop to the Walled Garden which was set out in 1976 and renovated over the last decade. Box hedges and paths lead into herbaceous borders. Lime avenue flanked by orchards, leads to reflecting pond completed by a stone pavilion and seven individual secret gardens. The parkland will be covered in tulips and daffodils, they plant thousands of spring bulbs every year, so it will be a riot of colour. A limited number of tickets are available for this special one-day event, kindly hosted by the head gardener, Mark Lyons, who will lead the guided tour of this fascinating private garden. Partial wheelchair access. Homemade teas in the stable courtyard. Pre-booking essential at, where you will find details of all these gardens.

Opening: April 25 (1-4pm). Cost £25

Location: Moor Crichel BH21 5DT