Today I spent a very pleasant afternoon at Furzey Gardens in the New Forest.
Initially planned and planted by the Dalrymple family from 1922 onwards, the gardens contain a number of historical plant collections from around the world including acers, rhododendrons and primulas. Today they're maintained by the Minstead Trust, a charity which provides training and support for people with learning disabilities.
When I visited it had been raining for several days and the ground was quite boggy in places, muddy and slippery in others so I had to tread carefully. This in no way prevented me from enjoying my wander round the gardens, which - despite strong winds last week - were full of autumn colour.
Here on the South Coast we have a fairly mild climate, so lots of flowers continue into Novmeber. Below are some lovely hydrangeas:
And some of the other flowers still going strong:
The gardens are great fun for children, with a play area, fairy dwellings to search for, a wonderful tree house and fund paths to explore:
And for the adults there are plant sales, a very nice gift shop (lots of craft items which I haven't seen elsewhere) and a cafe (although check opening times, at this time of year it's only open Friday-Sunday).
All in all a very enjoyable woodland garden. An adult group would probably find an hour enough time to see everything, with children I'd double that to allow time for playing and exploring. Allow some extra time if you want to visit the cafe or shop.