10 Sensational NGS gardens to visit in Dorset

Clematis in bloom at 17 Lower Golf Links Road, Broadstone

The gardens of 17 Lower Golf Links Road are particularly impressive in spring and early summer - Credit: ngs.org.uk

Knowle Cottage 

Large 1½ acre garden with 35m long south-facing herbaceous border with year-round colour. Formal rose garden within a circular floral planting is bound on three sides by lavender. Small orchard and vegetable garden in adjacent walled area, with whole garden leading to small stream, and bridge to pasture.  

Open: 27 March, 11am-3.30pm  

Where: Shorts Lane, Beaminster DT8 3BD  

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Ivy House Garden   

Daffodils, tulips and hellebores abound in this unusual and challenging ½ acre garden set on steep hillside with fine views. Run on organic lines with plants to attract wildlife, see mixed borders, ponds, vegetable garden, fruit cage, greenhouses, polytunnel, chickens and bees. Insect-friendly plants usually for sale.  

Open: 28 March, 2-5pm  

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Where: Piddletrenthide DT2 7QF 

Edmondsham House  

Six acres of mature gardens, grounds, views, trees, rare shrubs, spring bulbs and shaped hedges surrounding 16th/18th century house, giving much to explore including 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.  

Open: 5, 7, 14, 21 & 28 April, 2-5pm  

Where: Edmondsham, Wimborne BH21 5RE  

The colourful spring gardens at Knitson Old Farm House, near Corfe Castle in Dorset

Spring has sprung in the gardens of Knitson Old Farm House at Corfe Castle - Credit: ngs.org.uk

Knitson Old Farmhouse  

Mature cottage garden nestled at base of chalk downland. Herbaceous borders, rockeries, climbers and shrubs, evolved and designed over half a century for year-round colour and interest. Large wildlife-friendly kitchen garden for self-sufficiency. Historical stone artefacts are used in the garden design.     

Open: 7 & 14 April, 12-5pm  

Where: Corfe Castle, Wareham BH20 5JB 

Waterside planting in the gardens at Chideock Manor in Dorset

Explore formal and informal gardens at Chideock Manor - Credit: ngs.org.uk

Chideock Manor  

Seven acres of formal and informal gardens. Bog garden beside stream and series of ponds. Yew hedges and mature trees. Lime and crab apple walks, herbaceous borders, colourful rose and clematis arches, fernery and nuttery. Walled vegetable garden and orchard. Woodland and lakeside walks. Fine views.  

Open: 10 & 11 April, 2-5pm  

Where: Chideock, Bridport DT6 6LF 

Cranborne Manor Garden  

Beautiful and historic garden laid out in the 17th century by the go-to ‘gardener to the aristocracy’ John Tradescant. Enlarged in 20th century, it features several gardens surrounded by walls and yew hedges: blue and white garden, cottage style and mount gardens, water and wild garden. Many interesting plants, with fine trees and avenues.  

Open: 10 April, 10am-4pm  

Where: Cranborne BH21 5PP 

The wildlife pond with owl sculpture in the gardens of Broomhill, Rampisham

An owl sculpture by the wildlife pond at Broomhill, Rampisham - Credit: ngs.org.uk


Once a farmyard, now a delightful, tranquil garden set in 2 acres. Island beds and borders planted with shrubs, roses, masses of unusual perennials and choice annuals give vibrancy and colour from spring until well into the autumn. Lawns and paths lead to less formal area with large wildlife pond, meadow, shaded areas, bog garden and late summer border.  

Open: 18 April, 2-5pm  

Where: Rampisham, Dorchester DT2 0PU 

Horn Park in Beaminster, Dorset a plantsman's gardens with fabulous views

Horn Park in Beaminster is a large plantsman's garden packed with interesting plants - Credit: ngs.org.uk

Horn Park  

Large plantsman's garden with magnificent views over Dorset countryside towards the sea. Many rare and mature plants and shrubs in terrraced, herbaceous, rock and water gardens. Woodland garden and walks in bluebell woods. Good amount of spring interest with magnolia, rhododendron and bulbs which are followed by roses and herbaceous planting, wildflower meadow with 164 varieties including orchids.  

Open: 21 April, 2.30-4.30pm  

Where: Tunnel Road, Beaminster DT8 3HB  

The colourful gardens at 17 Lower Golf Links Road, Broadstone

The beautiful gardens at 17 Lower Golf Links Road in Broadstone, packed with colour in spring and summer - Credit: ngs.org.uk

17 Lower Golf Links Road

This Broadstone town garden of ⅔ acre is in a heathland suburb. Originally planted with mainly acid-loving plants, now, after much soil enrichment, it features plants for all seasons. Well-organised vegetable garden with brick borders to beds, fruit trees and pond as well as borders. Particularly impressive in spring and early summer, with camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons followed by roses.  

Open: 24/25 April, 22/23 May, 11/12 June, 1-5pm  

Where: Broadstone, Poole BH18 8BQ  

White and green combine with darker reds in the colour scheme in the garden at The Pines in Ferndown

A white and green colour scheme contrasts with darker blacks and burgundies at The Pines in Ferndown - Credit: ngs.org.uk

The Pines

This suburban garden in Ferndown is planted with mostly perennials, ornamental trees and exotic-type plants to give a secluded, private feel. The contemporary colour scheme is mostly white and green with contrasting darker blacks and burgundies, which creates a calming vibe. Designed in the 'broken plan' scheme, the garden is divided into rooms, with seating areas, tropical stepping stone pond, an outdoor kitchen/ BBQ area and greenhouse.  

Open: 24 April & 2 May, 1-5pm  

Where: 15 Longacre Drive, Ferndown BH22 9EE 

Please pre-book for ALL these gardens at ngs.org.uk 

Exotic planting at The Pines in Ferndown, Dorset

Exotic plants thrive in the gardens at The Pines in Ferndown - Credit: ngs.org.uk

READ MORE: Visit this award-winning Dorset garden

3 big ticket garden events for Dorset NGS this summer 

The walled garden at Encombe House at Kingston near Corfe Castle

The garden at Encombe House has been extensively redeveloped with a modern, sympathetic design by Tom Stuart-Smith - Credit: ngs.org.uk

Encombe House, Kingston  

Historic Encombe House is tucked away in a beautiful valley in the Purbeck hills. The garden has been extensively redeveloped since 2009, with a modern, sympathetic design by Tom Stuart-Smith. The main garden includes large sweeping borders filled with grasses and perennials, alongside extensive lawns, lake and deep herbaceous beds.  

Open: 15 June, 11am-3.30pm  

Where: Kingston, Corfe Castle, Wareham BH20 5LW  

The gardens at Farrs in Beaminster

The gardens at Farrs in Beaminster feature several distinctive walled gardens, rolling lawns, sculpture and giant topiary - Credit: ngs.org.uk

  Farrs, Beaminster    

This historic town house in Beaminster features several distinctive walled gardens, rolling lawns, sculpture and giant topiary. It is home to furniture design and artist John Makepeace and his wife Jennie, so art and theatre abound here. Enjoy John’s inspirational grasses garden and Jennie's riotous potager with a cleft oak fruit cage. Glasshouse, straw bale studio, geese in orchard. Remarkable trees, planked and seasoning in open sided barn for future furniture commissions. Their beautiful house, where John’s furniture can be admired in situ, is open on NGS days alonsgide paintings, sculpture and applied arts by living artists. Talk on design happenes at each opening and Jennie also gives plant talks.  

Open: 23 June & 15 September, 2.30-4.30pm  

Where: Whitcombe Road, Beaminster DT8 3NB  

The river walk at Stafford House in Dorset, home of Lord and Lady Fellowes

The river walk in the gardens at Stafford House, West Stafford, the home of Lord and Lady Fellowes - Credit: ngs.org.uk

Stafford House, West Stafford  

Stafford House is the family home of Baron Fellowes of West Stafford DL, the creator of Downton Abbey. Enjoy a stroll along the river walk and its tree planting in the style of early-19th century ‘Picturesque’. Humphry Repton prepared landscape proposals for the garden and the designs were later implemented, they were also included in his famous Red Books. Lord and Lady Fellowes will host a private morning in their garden, including special home-made elevenses under the turkey oak tree planted in 1633 on the main terrace.  

Open: 2 July, 10am-12 noon  

Where: Stafford House, West Stafford, Dorchester DT2 8AD  

Pre-booking is essential now for all NGS venues. Book at ngs.org.uk where you will find the most up-to-date open garden information.  

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