Furzey Gardens: its been a worthwhile wait

You know when you think something was about five years ago, which means it was probably seven and then it turns out it is actually 11 years ago?  Well my dear reader I have been intending to visit Furzey Gardens for 11 years and I finally got the chance to do so.
Way back in 2012 Chris Beardshaw designed an RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden for and with Furzey Gardens.  I liked the garden at the time but did not know the story behind the garden until a year later when I attended a talk Chris gave about building the garden.  It was a great talk and made me want to see the show garden again and, more importantly, visit Furzey for myself.  Apparently it has taken this long to actually get around to it.  I could blame the pandemic for wiping out a couple of years, but it has still taken too long.

Furzey Gardens is owned and run by the Minstead Trust, a charity that provides opportunities and supports people with learning difficulties to gain skills and have more independence.  The gardens are a bit of a schlep from where I live, but I received an invitation to visit another garden fairly close by and I decided I would drive down the day before.  Once I had decided this I looked to see if there was a garden close by I could visit on the drive down and there was Furzey waving merrily at me.  The plan was set.
The garden is located in the New Forest, an area I have never visited previously.  What a treat greeted me.  At the time of writing the rhododendrons and azaleas are flowering well and so exploration had to be done.  The paths wind you around and through the garden and I did my best to go along as many as I could.   
This is not the largest garden you will ever visit and yet I had too many choices of which way to go which meant I had to do a few circuits.  There were some spells of rain but not enough to put me off; contrary to common opinion I do not melt in water.
This is a garden of vista and detail.  I went from looking at the wider view to focussing on detail time and time again.  
The plants play nicely together,
I loved that it is very naturalistically planted,  the colours are not necessarily chosen to be soothing, they clash wonderfully in some places and look amazing.
It is a garden to make you really think about how wonderful nature is.
Some of the rhododendrons are huge,
and you get to see the most wonderful trunk formations.
As I was wandering I remembered that Chris Beardshaw had said there were lots of fairy doors around the garden and I realised that I had not been looking for them or seeing them.  When in a poof of fairy dust I suddenly saw this Fairy circus.  
Once I had 'got my eye in' I started seeing them in all sorts of nooks and crannies in the garden.

They do make a charming addition to the garden.
But mainly I was enjoying the plants, look at this amazing Cercis tree.  Regular readers will know I am a big fan of cercis trees and this one is at peak flower.  Just stunning.
There is a lot of water in the gardens, there are several streams and this large pond.
So many wonderful plants,
I loved all the detail.
and I loved the fairy houses.
Then I wanted back towards the cafe to get some tea and cake (good cake).
I really enjoyed my visit to the gardens.  I wish I lived closer so that I could visit at different times in the year.  The planting was superb and such a great variety of really interesting plants.  I think this garden is a real gem.  On the website they call it a secret garden and it certainly is one that deserves to be talked of more.

Then it was time to make my way to the hotel; I shall write soon about the other garden I was there to visit.

Take care and be kind.

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  1. I know how that time crunch/jump goes, but gosh--I guess it was worth it once you got there?! Wonderful tour, and thanks for taking us along!


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