Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens have been on my ‘must visit’ list for some time.
Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens have been on my radar for some time so I was pleased to finally get the chance to visit this month. The gardens are a showcase for what can survive and thrive in our climate. Aside from the favourable climate of coastal Dorset, the gardens have been planted with foresight and windbreaks to create microclimates.
I’ve had a week of annual leave and we decided to take a day out and make the short trip to Dorset. We make regular trips to Surrey but have never managed to combine the drive past the door with a visit. I’m planning a redesign of the top garden to incorporate more exotic and Australian planting and I was hoping to get some inspiration.
How to find Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens
The gardens are located near Chesil Beach. We turned off the A35 at Bridport and followed the stunning coast road.
Entrance: A very reasonable £12.50 per adult at the gate. There are online discounts and RHS members get free entry at the end of the year.
Opening times: Open every day except 18th December to1st January. 10am to 5pm (or 4pm in winter)
Around the garden
The gardens are organised into smaller areas and some larger ones. The cafe is a colonial-style building built in the old walled garden. There are grass borders, a large woodland area, and some formal ponds.
The woodland area was looking great in November. The Acers were stunning and cast a glow over the pleasant walk. There was a great Gingko next to a stream looking great in its autumn yellow.
We took the pram and went for a gentle stroll around the grounds. There were some steps and some uneven ground but the paths are well marked and a clear wheelchair route signposted.
We went on a cool, dry, November day and there were plenty of interesting plants to see. The coffee was great and the facilities were of a high standard and very clean. There is a plant sales area but I was disappointed to see that most of the interesting plants I had noted weren’t for sale. It may be that these weren’t offered at this time of year. The selection there was nice, the plants looked healthy, but there wasn’t anything I can’t get anywhere else.
One of the great things about visiting gardens is the chance to meet new plants. I always have my camera handy for taking notes and pictures for research later.
I’ve seen Fasicularia bicolor in Australia and more recently at a hotel in Cornwall. It’s now familiar but I can never remember its name.
I think this was the largest Gingko that I’ve seen and the yellow leaves made me stop and stare upwards.
The Pseudopanax was well labelled, as were a lot of the specimen trees, and it’s firmly on my wish list.
I had to take to Twitter to find the identity of this plant. The fruit looked familiar but I just couldn’t place it. Thankfully, Dr Dale Dixon from The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney helped me out with an ID. This is also now on the wish list. Luckily Plant World Seeds lists it.