Spring garden inspiration

Our grounds look spectacular in spring, with sunny daffodils now giving way to scented bluebells around the grounds of both Amesbury Abbey and Sutton Manor.

Residents’ terraces and balconies are looking beautiful too, as pots of tulips and hyacinths start to bloom.

The green-fingered among us love to tend their own plants, with our talented gardeners on hand to offer advice and help when needed. And the joy of independent living with us means your gardens and patio containers are always well tended when you go away.

We’re lucky enough to have lots of excellent garden centres both nearby and a little further afield – we never need an excuse for a day trip!

Here are some of our favourites: perfect for stocking up on summer bedding plants, asking advice for hanging baskets or containers, and enjoying a good cup of coffee and slice of cake afterwards.

Nothing beats a good cup of coffee and some cake

Rosebourne, Weyhill, Andover, Hampshire

Rosebourne has an excellent food hall, a popular table service café, a wide range of gifts, and a well-stocked garden nursery filled with seasonal shrubs, bulbs and plants.

The spacious, bright restaurant uses seasonal, local ingredients, and chefs work with produce from in-store butcher Owton’s and local bakery Burbidge’s.

The food hall also showcases products from all the best local suppliers.

Heale Plant Centre, Middle Woodford, Salisbury

One of our favourite places to visit locally, Heale House and Garden in the Woodford valley has eight acres of beautiful gardens lying alongside the River Avon.

There’s a lovely tea room, and the plant centre is stocked with a broad range of herbaceous perennials and flowering shrubs, chosen to attract beneficial pollinating insects to your garden.

Stepping into the gardens here transports you to a peaceful haven, where trout-filled streams cross under the authentic Japanese tea house and below the red Nikko bridge. It’s a gardener’s paradise that never fails to charm and is a constant source of inspiration.

Wilton House Garden Centre, Wilton House, Salisbury

Set in the stunning gardens of Wilton House, the Blue Diamond Wilton House Garden Centre offers a wide range of trees, plants and outdoor products and is the ideal place for everything to make your garden grow.

There is also a huge array of garden furniture, with lovely patio and balcony sets.

The Riverside Restaurant sits beside the River Wylye, one of the five rivers that converge on the city of Salisbury, but is currently being refurbished. We look forward to seeing it reopen in October.

Whitehall Garden Centre, Lacock Village, Wiltshire

A little further afield, Whitehall Garden Centre is set in lovely grounds and has one of the biggest plant displays in the southwest.

The Lavender Lodge tearoom and bistro has table service and an extensive menu, and the Herb Garden restaurant serves excellent Sunday lunches.

In the farm shop, there’s locally sourced meat and a wide range of fresh fruits, vegetables, and breads.

The beautiful village of Lacock itself, with its picturesque streets and timber-framed cottages, is a firm favourite with TV and film producers. It has featured in Harry Potter (Lacock Abbey was Hogwarts in two of the films), Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice and Cranford.

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey, and Hillier Plant Centre, Braishfield

The famous Sir Harold Hillier Gardens sit in more than 180 acres of rolling Hampshire countryside and are stunning all year round.

A visit in spring is a must, as the garden is crammed with the most magnificent magnolias, Japanese flowering cherries, azaleas and rhododendrons. In summer, one of the longest double borders in the country is ablaze with fiery red-hot pokers, echinacea and crocosmia; the gardens turn bronze and gold in autumn; and the Winter Garden covers four acres and is one of the largest in Europe.

For refreshments, choose from the Garden Restaurant, the Courtyard Café and the Tilia Tree Café for home cooked food made with fresh, locally sourced seasonal ingredients.

In the grounds of the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Hillier Garden Centre Braishfield has been inspiring plant lovers for more than 40 years.

There’s a fabulous plant area bursting with quality plants, many grown locally by Hillier at its nurseries in Hampshire and including several interesting varieties on display in the gardens.

New Forest Lavender Gardens, Landford, near Salisbury, Wiltshire

This is a stunning spot – New Forest Lavender Gardens at Landford just outside Salisbury is a beautiful little tearoom and nursery backing onto three acres of English lavender.

The nursery is small but filled with old-fashioned tea roses, colourful perennials, fragrant herbs and many different varieties of lavender. The tea rooms are always packed, with a small indoor space and plenty of tables dotted around the gorgeous gardens, where tiny birds hop from chair to chair hoping for crumbs.

All the cakes are homemade, delicious, and served beautifully with sprigs of lavender and a dusting of icing sugar. The tearoom and nursery are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

acres of land

Long Barn, Alresford, Hampshire

Set in two acres of lavender fields, the Long Barn in Alresford has a plant sales terrace with herbaceous plants, climbers, roses, herbs and a huge collection of lavenders. There’s also an excellent café with views over the lavender field and countryside, and a barn filled with upmarket home and garden ware and natural products from the annual lavender crop.

Fairweather’s Garden Centre, Beaulieu, New Forest

Fairweather’s is one of the most popular garden centres in Hampshire and enjoys a wonderful location in the New Forest village of Beaulieu.

Patrick’s Patch learning garden next door provides ideas and tips for your own garden, and Steff’s Kitchen serves fantastic food from warm scones fresh out of the oven to local sausages and garden salads made with leaves and vegetables picked the same day.

Beaulieu is worth a visit in its own right – along with Palace House and Gardens just down the road.

Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, Whitchurch

The fabulous Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants in the beautiful Hampshire village of Freefolk near Whitchurch is recognised as one of the UK's leading plantsman nurseries.

Hardy’s stocks more than1,200 plant varieties, including many rare and exciting species you won't find in your average garden centre.

It’s a lovely place to visit, especially in summer with the bees buzzing from bloom to bloom. Browse a wide range of home-produced herbaceous perennials grown outdoors in peat free compost ready for your garden.

Choice Plants, Romsey

Choice Plants retail nursery specialises in hanging baskets and containers, but also has a wide range of shrubs, bedding, patio and perennial plants. Choice Plants will replant any hanging baskets brought into the nursery, and you can take a break at Poppies Café, which serves wholesome, homemade food.

George Beckett Nurseries, Otterbourne Road, Compton, near Winchester

At George Beckett Nurseries, there are thousands of plants, nursery-grown in containers for all-year-round successful planting – and many come in larger sizes for instant impact.