As I’ve said already, despite the title, our garden isn’t a forest garden. It’s too small, for one thing. As you can see, it is a little patch which is ideally suited to being a container garden, but completely unsuited to becoming a lush, verdant, dappled-sunlit forest.
That doesn’t mean forest gardens aren’t inspirational, though. Or any garden which is mature enough to have a depth and richness to it, so long as its gardeners allow it to stretch itself and develop.
My first “inspiration” post, then, is a large, rambling National Trust garden one can easily get lost in: Kingston Lacy, Dorset. I’ve seen mixed reviews of it online; but the poor reviews didn’t really explain just what they didn’t like about it. Its formal gardens aren’t that special gardenwise, but they do have an unusually large amount, for Dorset, of Egyptian archaeology scattered through them. Further away from the house, though, the themed gardens are much more natural-feeling; whereas the formal garden could have been shipped in yesterday, the other gardens definitely feel grown-in, even though they have been largely restored in the past 30 years.
First, the walled Fern Garden, including a field mouse I managed to capture a quick snap of before it saw us and fled.
One of the largest parts of the gardens at Kingston Lacy is the Japanese garden, originally Edwardian, rebuilt in the early 90s. It includes several parts: a formal tea garden, a daisy maze overlooked by a bamboo shelter, and a more wooded area, blending in with the older trees fringing it. When we were visited, we were caught in a sudden summer downpour, so sheltered with our umbrellas, trying to take photos of the raindrops.