Set in a sheltered valley these magical gardens are full of surprises especially as they were created from an abandoned farmyard! The National Trust have selected Mottistone as an experiment to see which varieties of plants will grow in our changing climate and the result in the front garden is quite astounding, including bananas - did you know that they are in fact not trees but herbaceous perennials, originating in subtropical southern China (Musa Basjoo), Cistus rock roses from the Mediterranean. A variety of plants from Australia and New Zealand, including, Acacia baileyana (Cootamundra Wattle), Callistemons (Bottle Brush), Leptospermum from New Zealand, Phormiums (New Zealand Flax) many different varieties in the monocot border Pittosporums (Kohuhu trees from New Zealand) and not forgetting the feathery leaved Restios from Africa and Beschorneria succulents from Mexico.
The heavenly scented rose garden and the colourful herbaceous borders are both enclosed by a deep green yew hedge. Nearby the organic vegetable garden has soft fruits and healthy veg, scattered with soft scented sweet peas. And in the spring there are blankets of snowdrops, daffodils, primroses and bluebells.
Next to the tea garden (which serves freshly made dishes) you’ll find the old architects office, known as ‘The Shack’. A semi retreat for its designers the architects Seely and Paget, the hard wood-clad interior in its 1930s splendour is just as it would have been then, and is dressed to give the illusion that the two gentlemen have just stepped out.