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Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

The garden at Abbotsbury is surprisingly jungle-like, dating back to 1765


GAP Photos/Carole Drake Location: Abbotsbury, Dorset, UK Owners: Ilchester Estates

Feature No:   408 

Qty of Images:    109 


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The garden at Abbotsbury is a surprisingly jungle-like corner of Dorset that most rural of English counties. Plants have been cultivated here since 1765 when the first Countess of Ilchester built a mansion overlooking the sea with a walled garden nearby for growing food and flowers. By 1899 Abbotsbury boasted one of the finest plant collections in the land numbering more than 5,000 species and varieties, many of which were recent introductions from China and Japan.

Like many large gardens Abbotsbury fell into neglect in the 20th century, with bramble and bamboo smothering many of the garden's treasures. Restoration began in the late 1960s, but the real turning point came in 1990 with a catastrophic storm and the arrival of Stephen Griffith as curator. Since that time Steve has continued the thinning begun by the storm, reintroducing light into the garden and planting thousands of new plants. Visitors can again experience a sense of the tropical created by the combination of strange and rare plants, the staccato calls of resident kookaburras, and the red roofed Colonial Tea House, all just a stone's throw from the sea.



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