These green-fingered Instagrammers are inspiring us to get digging this summer.

That the world has gone garden mad since the pandemic hit serves as a reminder that, in times of trouble, the constancy of nature can provide at once comfort, balm and exhilarating inspiration. It is, after all, well documented that weeding, hoeing, raking, sewing and generally getting hands grubby in the soil does wonders for our health, both mental and physical.

Whilst our gardens may be, ahem, somewhat more modest than those in our round-up, these superlative oases are nonetheless great for more than just getting our vicarious horticultural kicks. Whether you are a seasoned pro or novice, they are a great place for picking up ideas and, sometimes, practical tips. Here are ten of the dreamiest gardens on the grid.

Jasper Conran

@jasperconran


Judging by Instagram alone (not always a reliable narrator, we concede), Jasper Conran has had a lovely lockdown. And he’s also managed to make ours somewhat more inspiring too, thanks to daily sharing views of his beautiful garden in Bridport, Dorset. We love his magical early morning videos through sun, mist or drizzle, as he walks through the garden to a heavenly soundtrack of birdsong. Whether it is to find inspiration for your own garden, or just to cast your eyes over something truly peaceful and sublime, we can’t recommend following this account highly enough.

Sarah Raven

@sarahravenperchhill


Sarah Raven is the queen of the cut flower, a writer and a pre-eminent plantswoman. And Perch Hill, her home farm in East Sussex, is every bit as outrageously beautiful as you might imagine. The good news is, whether you can – in post Covid days – visit in person or not, you can still clap eyes on its splendour courtesy of the magic of Instagram. What green-fingered soul wouldn’t be moved by videos as exquisite as this? Or a bucketful or sweetpeas like this? Or sigh-inducing footage, such as this, which she simply captions ‘soft.’

Monty Don

@themontydon


Only the hardest hearted of souls could fail to love Monty Don. His reassuring corduroys, his knitted jumpers in trademark blue, his adoration for his dog (sadly now singular after recent demise of his beloved golden retriever Nigel) and his palpable love for what he does all combine to make him one of our perennial favourites. His despatches from his garden in Herefordshire have been a source of unadulterated delight through lockdown. From the soothing walkway of ferns to the rambling roses; this pastoral scene in the orchard to the breath-taking early morning walks through the garden: we love everything about this feed, from the way his garden is divided into a series of ‘rooms’ to the man himself. Perfection.

Dig Delve

@digdelve


Dig Delve is Dan Pearson and Huw Morgan’s online magazine about gardens, growing, food, plants and people. It is also like nectar for keen and aspirant gardeners, with its wheelbarrows full of oriental poppies, its great handfuls of elderblossom, its soothing videos of rainwater on the pool, and scenes as aching beautiful as this. The magazine itself is full of beautiful and instructive writing; the Instagram feed is all about gorging on the visual feast.

Niki At The Cottage

@niki.at.the.cottage


Niki At The Cottage is one of those incredibly sweet Instagram accounts that just makes you smile and sigh at the sheer prettiness of it all. Niki’s titular cottage is in Suffolk and looks like a pastoral dream. Who doesn’t want a rustic door like this? Or a potting table like this? We also love that she snaps picturesque scenes from her local walks, including of houses she wistfully has her eye on. A girl after our own heart.

Found and Favour

@foundandfavour


Clara, the woman behind the ever-lovely Found and Favour Instagram account, is part of the team behind the prodigiously successful Country Brocante, that travelling repository of shabby chic and faded florals. Here, she lets us into her own house and garden, deftly demonstrating how one might charmingly pull off the brocante look at home. It is all so very enchanting; we long to be taking tea on her lawn amidst the roses every time we open it up. What person in their right mind would not adore to sit in this idyllic spot?

Just Belle

@just_belle


Belle Daughtry is a Suffolk-dwelling photographer and stylist with a very keen appreciation for nature, especially when it is at its prettiest. One look at her feed and it comes as little surprise that she’s worked with some of the biggest and most romantically simpatico names in the business, from Cabbages & Roses and Rachel Ashwell to David Austin Roses and Plain English. Her life is a floral feast, from the clothes she wears to the buckets she fills delphiniums and daisies.

Great Dixter

@greatdixterofficial


Every serious – and indeed many not so serious – horticulturist whispers the name of Great Dixter in reverent awe. For it is a place of such garden legend that the accompanying timbered medieval house comes second to the grounds. That’s thanks to the late, great gardener and gardening writer, Christopher Lloyd, who lived here until his death in 2006, and who used it as a canvas to pioneer horticultural ideas. Now it is presided over by Perry Rodriguez, and it is, we’re happy to say, still sublime, as videos such as this one attest.

Ben Pentreath

@benpentreath


We have a major thing for Ben Pentreath, from his beautiful shop, Pentreath and Hall, to his bothy in Scotland, which may be the most stylishly cosy thing we’ve ever seen. But what we’ve absolutely delighted in through lockdown is his country garden in Dorset, which is, frankly, perfection. He is brilliant at capturing the light and, well, quite simply, this is a place of bucolic dreams.

Gravetye Manor

@gravetyemanor


Gravetye Manor is one of the UK’s loveliest country house hotels. It also happens to boast a historically important garden, having once been the home of the pioneering horticulturist and journalist William Robinson, whose significance is hard to overstate. Robinson blazed a trail for the English cottage garden, retraining the spotlight from formality to the wild; in other words, he set the tone for the prevailing fashion for loose, untamed nature back in the 19th-century. These days it is under the auspices of Tom Coward, one of the most respected head gardeners working today who, incidentally, cut his teeth at Great Dixter. The onus here remains on the wild meadows and veg gardens in the spirit of Robinson. One look at a dreamy image like this and it’s officially love.

By Nancy Alsop
July 2020

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