A visit to the Sir Harold Hillier garden in Romsey

10 Written by Lisa on 17th Jan 2012 in Inspiration

I spent a wonderful day on Friday with a garden designer friend who, like me, wanted to practice her photography in a garden with winter interest.  We chose the Sir Harold Hillier Garden in Romsey primarily for its winter garden but also for its amazing collection of trees.  The weather was on our side too, bright and cold and perfect for bringing the winter stems and tree bark to life.

When you visit a “winter” garden in winter you really understand how wonderful plants can be in the season that we associate with dull and dreary days.  The yellow and orange cornus stems (above) looked as if they were on fire when the sun caught them.  The trees shine too, look how wonderful the bark of the acer griseum looked against the young stems of willow behind…

And the sweetly scented Hamamelis (witchhazel) also brought a warm glow…

Visiting gardens in winter is a really good way to observe the structure of a garden.  The structural plants are important in summer too but once the beautiful flowers arrive our attention tends to get somewhat diverted and it’s not until the winter that we realise we have huge bare patches.  I think this euphorbia looked fabulous against the glowing stems of the yellow bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea)…

Grasses can look wonderful in winter too as they provide structure and interest, especially when the light catches them.

Stipa tenuissima is particularly good as it also brings movement to the garden, just the smallest breath of wind will make its elegant leaves sway…

What struck me about Hilliers was the structure with the deciduous trees and how even if the tree is not particularly noted for its bark, the shape and form of an interesting tree can make a real difference to the look and feel of a space.

And flowers featured too, from the architectural spent flower heads of hydrangea…

… to the purple heather…

… to the intoxicating scent of the Daphne…

…to the many varietites of camellia sasanqua…

….and the gorgeous nodding heads of the snowdrops…

There was something there for everyone!


(Photos: Lisa Cox)



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10 Responses to “A visit to the Sir Harold Hillier garden in Romsey”

  1. Such beautiful images Lisa. I love this garden, it’s very near to where I grew up in the New Forest and we always try to get there when we can. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Lisa Cox says:

    Thanks Fiona, the light was perfect for catching the winter stems…I’ve only been there once before but have decided it would be good to visit throughout the seasons to see how things change.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing these. I work here, and love it, but it is also interesting to see the Gardens through someone else’s eyes. I’ve been tree planting today with young students. More plants for the future!

  4. Lisa Cox says:

    You’re very welcome, Carla, I’m so glad you enjoyed them! The garden was wonderful and we were so lucky with the weather – the winter stems were simply glowing….I’m not surprised that you love working there!

  5. Lynn Poppe says:

    I live in Victoria Australia and have visited the Sir Harold Hillier garden personally with my husband, an avid gardener, and a very dear friend who works there, Janet Pratley.I thank her for sending the link so that we could again enjoy the wonderful garden and the superb photography.

  6. Lisa Cox says:

    I am so delighted that you enjoyed it – how wonderful that I could bring back some memories for you! The Winter Garden was looking particularly wonderful and the glorious crisp and cold weather certainly helped with capturing some of the best bits.

  7. Richard Bond says:

    Hi Lisa
    A big well done on these, which has to be one of the hardest subjects to photograph. You have captured the atmosphere and subjects in well balanced light and from the plants level giving a realistic and natural point of view. See you soon at Wisley for a masterclass.
    Kind regards

  8. Lisa Cox says:

    Thanks Richard – great to have the feedback….especially the positive kind 🙂

  9. Yavuz says:

    Love the photos !

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Lisa Cox Welcome

I specialise in helping families to turn their gardens into an extension of their home and into a space that can be used and enjoyed all year round.

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