England - Gertrude Jekyl Garden
We just got back from 3 weeks driving tour of England and Scotland. My favorite garden was the Gertrude Jekyl Garden in Northern England on the Island of Lindesfarne. The Island is reached via a causeway that is under water several hours a day, so be sure to check the tide tables (on the internet or posted at the entrance) before driving over. The Island itself is quite beautiful, sparsely populated with ruins of the old priory, a small village and a beautiful hilltop castle.
The Gertrude Jekyl Garden is a small stone-walled garden in the middle of a vast open area across from the castle. It was recently restored to its original 1905 state and includes both perennials and vegetables. Bright yellow and orange calendulas grow next to artichokes, climbing beans on bamboo pyramids beside blue cornflowers. There is a cool breeze and the salty scent of the ocean. It was quite sunny the day we were there, but the 3 of us were the only ones in the garden -- most of the people were there to explore the castle and I don't know if they were even aware of the tiny garden. There is a feeling of isolation and timelessness when sitting on the stone bench in the garden, and it was a place I will long remember.