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Mottistone Gardens, Isle of Wight

Discover tranquil gardens, Mediterranean plants and more surprises at The National Trust’s Mottistone Gardens, on the South West of the Island

Weekend Escapes

Close to the coast on the South West of the Isle of Wight, The National Trust’s Mottistone Manor is renowned for its beautiful, vibrant and tranquil gardens.

Magnificent double borders are full of colour from early spring, ready to greet visitors when the garden opens each March. Time it right and catch the beautiful ‘bells in the Bluebell wood at the top of the garden, too.

In summer, Mottistone’s renowned borders are absolutely ablaze with a rainbow of colours. Vivid orange and yellow red-hot pokers, purple agapanthus, creamy sisyrinchium – the beautiful blooms appear from June. In the sheltered conditions, many last right through to September.

As one of the Trust’s most southerly ‘dry’ gardens, Mottistone’s team of gardeners and volunteers have enjoyed a lot of success with Mediterranean-style planting. They successfully grow exotic and drought-resistant plants from around the world here that thrive in dry conditions. Think yuccas, palms and even bananas. High up on the banks that overlook the gardens a small olive grove is starting to become established.

In the organic kitchen garden, changing planting varies through the seasons – from new potatoes to sweet raspberries.

Towards the rear of the gardens, in spring, an avenue of trees blossom with confetti-like petals flutter down onto the orchard floor. In summer, the fruits hang low from laden branches. Head to the very back of the orchard and take a seat on a quiet bench, listening to the leaves of the tall trees gently rustling in the breeze. From here a network of footpaths criss-cross the Mottistone Estate, taking in countryside and beautiful sea views.

Kids can explore woodland areas and take on seasonal and year-round trails. Always popular, look out for the cute hunt for nine flowerpot people. Hiding around are Nanny McPea, Benedict Cucumberpatch and Captain Jack Marrow, among others. (Pick up a free trail sheet at the Visitor Reception).

Another quirk to look out for at Mottistone Gardens is the 1930s Shack, a tiny, tardis-like structure and a real time-capsule. It was designed by architects John Seely (son of the 1st Lord Mottistone) and Paul Paget. Used as their country office and retreat, it contains all mod cons – 1930s style.

Next to it, the peaceful tea garden is located in what was once the tennis court for Mottistone Manor. Today, you aren’t at risk of tennis balls hurtling into your cream tea – but do keep an eye out for passing butterflies. Très tranquille…

Mottistone Gardens are open 7 days a week, 10.30am – 5pm, until 30 October 2022.

This month in isleofwight

Mottistone, near Brighstone, Isle of Wight, PO30 4ED

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