Eight UK places are going head-to-head to be named the nation’s favorite country house garden.
Belvoir Castle is in the running
The horticultural contenders will be revealed by James Birch, President of Historic Houses, at the association’s annual conference in central London. The organisation, which represents more than 1600 historic homes and gardens, has been recognising its members and their creations since 1984. Previous winners include Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, Dalemain in the Lake District and this year’s champion, Miserden in the Cotswolds.
The eight in line for the 2019 crown are:
- Belvoir Castle, ancestral home of the Dukes of Rutland, in Leicestershire;
- Cambo House in Fife, home to the Erskine family since the 1670s;
- Cholmondeley Castle, Cheshire, seat of the Marquesses of Cholmondeley;
- Forde Abbey, a former Cistercian monastery in Dorset;
- Great Dixter, once home to renowned gardening writer Christopher Lloyd;
- Kiftsgate Court in Gloucestershire, the creation of three generations of women gardeners since the start of the twentieth century;
- Newby Hall, home of the Compton family, in North Yorkshire;
- Plas Cadnant, recently restored ‘hidden gardens’, on Anglesey.
Ursula Cholmeley, gardening editor of Historic House magazine, said, “This competition isn’t about gardens frozen in time, however beautiful and impressive. What makes the gardens of Historic Houses special is the people who live in them, and we want to see their ideas and passion coming through in the way the garden is evolving. Our great country houses are rightly protected from much significant physical change, so it’s often only in the garden that a new generation of inhabitants of these much-loved family homes can really make their mark, leaving their own legacy for future generations. These shortlisted gardens are all ones where we can see that personal imprint.”
James Birch, President of Historic Houses, said, “It’s almost impossible to pick just eight gardens from the hundreds of fabulous places that make up our membership in a way that does justice to them all. But these potential winners are terrific ambassadors for the three hundred or so more that, like them, are thrown open every year for members of the public to explore and enjoy. Every one of these shortlisted gardens, like all those in our member-access scheme, is free for our members to visit. We need the public’s help to choose the eventual winner for 2019. We’re calling on people who love gardens to spend the next twelve months getting out to see our finalists, and then casting their vote online to decide the winner.”
Members of the public can vote for their favourite garden by visiting historichouses.org from early next year. The winner of the 2019 award, sponsored by Christie’s auction house, will be announced at the Historic Houses AGM in November 2019.