Minterne has been the home of the Churchill & Digby families since 1620. Landscaped in the manner of Capability Brown the gardens are laid out in a horseshoe below Minterne House.
Minterne hosts a world renowned and unique collection of Himalayan Rhododendrons and Azaleas, with spring bulbs, Cherries, Maples and many fine and rare trees. The gardens boast many other picturesque features with a chain of small lakes, waterfalls and streams.
As an Island nation, we have always relied on our sea-faring prowess to expand our spheres of influence. Our explorers are well known – Drake, Raleigh, Captain Cook, the pilgrims on the Mayflower – the list is endless.
However, there is another group of unsung English explorers – the plant hunters of the Victorian times. They explored throughout China, Bhutan and the Himalayas in search of botanical species. Their names include – Kingdon Ward, George Forrest, Edmund Loder. Many amateur garden enthusiasts in England under the umbrella of the Royal Horticultural Society sponsored these plant hunters.
Between 1850 and 1947, their trips, lasting up to 6 years each, introduced countless new exotic species to English Gardens. Magnolias, Rhododendrons, Azaleas, to name but a few. The seed was shared around the sponsors who propagated this as a basis for exotic subtropical shrub gardens; the vast majority of species at Minterne were propagated from seed brought back by these explorers.
CLA members will meet in the Trafalgar Hall for a talk with the Head Gardener (during which he will include 15-20 minutes on his Plant Hunting trip to the Himalayas).
Following which we split the group into 2:
Those guests who are knowledgeable Horticultural/Rh experts will go with the Head Gardener for his tour.
The others will tour the gardens with Wendelin Morrison, Assistant Gardener.
Both groups will come back to the house for tea and cake.