After scrolling through Royal Horticultural Society’s website for information on different plant varieties and how to grow this and that in more detail, I came across the ‘gardens to visit’ section and thought it was about time I actually checked it out in real life, rather than staring at pretty pictures through a screen.

It was probably the worst day I could have visited on. The wind was crazy! It was so windy that they had to restrict the areas you could walk around. The New Zealand and Australian Gardens and the Woodland Walk were both out of bounds. Two areas I actually wanted to snoop around, although, it’s probably the perfect excuse to re-visit next year.

It wasn’t all bad though, as we were able to save some money on entry with a 2 for 1 offer this particular weekend. It’s always worth checking out deals and events that are happening before you go. In the past they have had some great events, such as an official tour of the gardens, fun kid’s events and arts and crafts workshops to take part in. Pretty much something to cater for everyone!

The weekend we went there was a Christmas fair; perfect to get into the festive mood and even better for looking for homemade and unique Christmas gifts.

Christmas at Hyde Hall

Trying to keep my hat on!

We were greeted by about 5 different members of staff within 5 minutes of walking through the door. I always appreciate friendly customer service (after all, I am in customer service myself!) and we got exactly that. We were handed a map and we were off on our way! We explored for a good hour and a half before being defeated by the wind and returning to the marquee to browse the gift fair.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from the gardens in the winter. I guess as a new gardener’s outlook I was half expecting dead looking plants and trees from every angle I looked. I’ve quickly learnt that winter is not a time to ignore your garden. There’s still plenty of colour around and beautiful evergreens in every bed.

Christmas at Hyde Hall

I particularly loved the shrubs and trees with the various coloured berries. They’re perfect for attracting wildlife too; I can imagine such a Christmas image, a robin on a beautiful red berries hedge. These Firethorn shrubs we sell here at Thompson and Morgan and I’m definitely buying one of these for my garden next year! They’re quite quick growing and easy to maintain. That is ideal for me as a new young gardener who is still learning what to grow and how to look after.

A lot of plants were dormant or past their best as we walked around, however Rosa plants were still in bloom and looking sweet and delicate, Nerines were bobbing around in the wind (or viciously being thrown around on this particular day) and colourful autumnal leaves clinging on several trees. It was really lovely to stroll from place to place and take inspiration from the largest RHS garden in the UK.

Christmas at Hyde Hall

Hyde Hall also hosts some of The Chelsea Flower Show on its over 300 acre patch, and I’d love to return at that time of year and see the entire buzz surrounding it. Working for Thompson and Morgan allows an insight into the event and the company has won several awards for plants such as the Foxglove Illumination Pink. It would be nice to see it up close and in person.

After walking around and checking out the various nooks and crannies of the gardens, and the beautiful restaurant area, we headed to the Christmas fair. I didn’t buy any presents, although did spend some pennies on a mulled wine. Well, it is the festive season after all!

Christmas at Hyde Hall

I’d definitely recommend a visit to one of the 5 RHS gardens in the UK. Hyde Hall was really enjoyable; however I’d probably have preferred a warmer day in spring or summer to visit. It did give me some great ideas for my own garden over winter though, and has left me with plenty of designs I could use in my own little patch of land.

Have you visited Hyde Hall before and what were your thoughts? Feel free to drop a comment and let me know your favourite gardens in the UK – I’m always looking for new gardens to visit!

Karen Pratt
Karen works in the Customer Care Department at Thompson and Morgan assisting customers in their orders and gardening queries. After growing up watching her dad and granddad in the garden, she is now keen to improve her own gardening knowledge and expertise. Karen likes to try out new and quirky ideas in the garden, and appreciates any tips or advice!

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