Here at Cumbria’s Living Heritage, we have fabulous herbaceous borders, or natural plantings, which will wow with visual uplift and seduce with rich floral fragrance.  Summer is when they are at their best and enjoying what is absolutely their  ‘moment’.  So, take a break for the borders with our downloadable herbaceous borders guide.

It has everything, from the Orange Border at Dalemain Mansion and Gardens,  (, which reminds that Dalemain is home to the world’s quirky Marmalade Awards, to the 230-foot herbaceous border at Askham Hall (, to which anyone can drop in, to view this delight, spilling over with bistort, peonies and more, or venture elsewhere, to experience varied delights, including the Land of Giants, where tall herbaceous plants abound.

This information-packed Cumbrian heritage gardens’ guide demonstrates how herbaceous borders are often found around terraces and lawned areas of historic properties that then have so much more to offer, such as the Bee Garden and Heather Path Maze, with its medieval inspired pattern, at Mirehouse ( and the Labyrinth and Great Lime at Holker Hall and Gardens (

It point you towards fittingly romantic borders at the former home of Romantic poet William Wordsworth, Rydal Mount (, whilst also explaining why herbaceous borders were not the order of the day at his earlier home, Dove Cottage, when he was an aspiring but somewhat struggling poet ( and where wild plants were instead given sanctuary.

Wordsworth is not the only literary figure in whose footsteps you can walk, if you follow the guidance of the Break for the Herbaceous Border booklet.  There is also the opportunity to explore Brockhole ( whose borders would have once been admired by Beatrix Potter, when visiting her cousin Edith Gaddum.  You can also tread the same path to the lake with magnificent border, which would once have been used by John Ruskin, at his home at Brantwood (  At Mirehouse, you can even see the potting shed in which poet Tennyson, a frequent visitor to Mirehouse, sheltered from the rain in the Bee Garden.

Perhaps the explanation of how Levens Hall and Gardens (  grows 30,000 plants each year for its herbaceous borders is a good example of the role that these borders play at the exquisite heritage properties.  They are show-stoppers on the one hand, but supporting ‘actors’ on the other, helping to add elements of delight to the bigger production, as at Levens Hall and Gardens, where the main attraction is the world’s oldest topiary garden, dating from 1694.

At Hutton-in-the-Forest ( they can lead you to the cascade and ponds, or encourage you to take a woodland walk that will help you breathe in contrasting scents.  At Muncaster (, they guide your way towards the magnificent Japanese  and Sino-Himalayan Gardens; at Blackwell – the Arts and Crafts House (  they may just encourage you to enter the house and explore the nature motifs included within the magnificent craftsmanship, be that stained glass, decorative plasterwork or woodwork, tapestry, ceramics and tiling, wrought iron or mosaics.

Using this guide, you can discover not-to-be-missed sights – a topiary dragon and Sleeping Giantess, a slate sundial, a 17th century Italian marble statue of Neptune, a 9th century Norse Mound and Ruskin’s Seat, being just some.  You can get on the trail of Wordsworth’s elusive cuckoo, see gardens created to mark anniversaries, head off to spot red squirrels, watch birds of prey and understand the economics of plain living and high thinking, in a tiny cottage on a Lakeland fellside.

Download the guide today and start to discover awe-inspiring gardens that will give you a sweetly scented days out and a fragrant and floral foray into the world of gardens and gardening.  Become inspired or simply relish the aesthetics and never pick up a trowel yourself.  Either way, you will have memories for a lifetime.

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The Herbaceous Borders Guide

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