We have enjoyed a proper summer this year which encourages us to venture out and about and explore all the wonderful gardens in our green and pleasant land. The Yellow Book allows us to discover unknown gems but I would like to mention a few of my favourite gardens that are more well known and more easily visited.

When I visit a garden what impresses me the most is a space that has been really well maintained; I often feel slightly let down if the plants are straggly, the borders are gappy and the hedges are unruly. Another disappointment is the choice of plant material, I am not expecting rarities or exotics, I would simply like to see some thoughtful plant combinations and delightful colour schemes. I have visited a number of historic houses recently, which although not promoted as having a garden of note, are still let down by what amounts to amenity planting; a selection of uninspiring shrubs more often spotted in the local supermarket car park.

Here are a few suggestions of places to make the effort to visit as they never disappoint and always delight.

Wollerton Old Hall, Market Drayton – fantastic garden rooms with a surprise through every gate and hedge opening. Excellent formal design and exciting planting.

York Gate, Leeds – a small but perfectly formed garden, with many different spaces to meander through. Wonderful attention to detail, with plenty of inspiring ideas to take home.

Trentham Gardens, Staffordshire – grand formal gardens with modern grass and perennial planting. Although on a vast scale the planting combinations can be replicated in a garden setting.

Levens Hall, Cumbria – magnificent old topiary and immaculate bedding schemes in a restrained colour palette. Interesting perennial borders offering plenty of inspiration and a wealth of vistas and focal points.

This is just a handful of the many wonderful gardens open to the public, I need a good long holiday to discover more further afield, however all the gardens above show attention to detail, are extremely well designed and have beautiful planting schemes. They are also all well looked after and well loved by those who tend them and visit them.

I will continue my quest to add more worthy gardens to my places to visit and hope to pass these on.

Pictures show Levens Hall (top) and Trentham Gardens.