Garden of the Year Award
Mapperton Gardens have been voted the Historic Houses Garden of the Year 2020. The award, sponsored by Christie’s, recognises the importance of some of the country’s most spectacular gardens with outstanding horticultural and public appeal. The owners, the Earl and Countess of Sandwich and their family, are naturally delighted that Mapperton won the award. At the Historic Houses virtual AGM and awards ceremony in November, Caroline Sandwich thanked the public who voted for Mapperton in record-breaking numbers. Almost twelve thousand votes were cast in total for the eight shortlisted gardens, with Mapperton winning almost a quarter.
Caroline says, “John and I are delighted Mapperton Gardens has won this award. It’s lovely for us and it’s such a wonderful endorsement of all the work everyone has put into the garden. It’s not just the achievement of this extremely difficult year, but of all the work of the past years.
“Thank you to all the people who voted for us all over the world; we are very grateful. We hope the gardens will have many more visitors to enjoy the peace and calm, and the special trees and shrubs.”
The Garden of the Year is not judged by professional gardeners. It is voted for by the general public who judge the gardens purely based on their enjoyment. All the finalists are members of Historic Houses, a not-for-profit cooperative association representing the UK’s largest collection of independently owned heritage. All offer free entry to Historic Houses members – a fifty-thousand strong group of supporters of the association’s work. Despite the constraints on sightseeing imposed this year by coronavirus, all shortlisted gardens were able to offer socially distanced public access at some point over the summer.
Mapperton is one of the most important and distinctive gardens in the country. Registered Grade II*, it is among a handful of the top gardens in Wessex. Its gardens are famous for their romantic setting, their varied planting and their sense of tranquillity.
Tucked into a steep north-south combe, in the heart of West Dorset, the gardens descend from the formal topiary gardens and orangery to the north to an arboretum, beyond which the land unfolds in small, steep valleys and headlands down to the sea five miles away.
Mapperton Gardens will open again Sunday to Thursday, 11am to 5pm from March 1. Details are available online on the Mapperton website www.mapperton.com.