“The lesson I have thoroughly learnt and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives.”

Gertrude Jekyll

The Priory Hotel stands in over four acres of carefully and lovingly cultivated English cottage gardens, on the banks of the River Frome. An idyllic and enviable location where peace and tranquility prevails. The gardens are best admired during the spring and summer months when flowers are in abundance and lawns are freshly cut. Ablaze with colour and scent at these times, the gardens never fail to delight. If only we could bottle it. A tincture of English summertime.
Imagine enjoying a leisurely lunch alfresco under dappled shade watching the boats go by. Or perhaps a game of croquet on the lawn with afternoon tea or champagne and strawberries. Or simply walk awhile and stroll alongside the riverbank admiring the countryside and wildlife; birds on the wing, butterflies and dragonflies, and bees collecting nectar. In spring it’s the carefully planted bulbs that first bring life back into the gardens. Favourites such as daffodils, bluebells, and hyacinths are to be found in clusters around the lawns and trees. Then, as activity on the river increases, and spring turns into summer, hollyhocks, wisteria, fox gloves, lilies, begonias, honeysuckle and fuchsias, to mention but a few, all vie for attention, adorning informal beds walls, trellises, walls, and hanging baskets that spill over with brightly coloured lobelia.
And then there’s the matriarch and doyen of the quintessential English cottage garden, the rose. You will find roses not just in the rose garden, where there are some of the more unusual specimens, but everywhere. Autumn is special too. A plethora of varying shades of red, orange, brown, and gold give way to the fall of leaves as winter approaches. The excuse to cosy up in front of the real log fire in the drawing room, and enjoy a lovely Dorset Cream Tea or full Afternoon Tea, is most welcome.