This is the vid "Visiting English Country Gardens - with the NGS" by the artists Denise Wyllie and Clare O Hagan. A nice movie mentioning "Open Gardens" and presenting the NGS in short.
This could be my first tip for the summer holidays (and not proof of me sitting too many hours watching the Swedish Broadcasting free online tv, even if it's true). There is a tv series called "Open Gardens" that can warm the most frozen gardener this time of the year. I stumbled across it on SVT play, and if they show their shows worldwide you can see the programs here - with swedish subtitels (and a few words from a swedish speaker, but most is said in english). If this option isn't available you can surf around BBC - or if you find it on your local tv tableau make sure you can watch it.
The show is more or less an veiled ad for the NGS and their Yellow Book, but I'm not complaining much. NGS - the National Garden Scheme - is an british association with the only purpose to make sure gardens are showed to the public for a profit that goes to charity. Most of the gardens are privately owned and the owners chose the charity they want to support, as well as they make the cookies and tea sold in the café on the open days. Apparently they don't get a krona, I'm sorry; a penny for their works, and since they have to work to maintain an immaculate garden one could think that the workload would discourage applicants to be listed in the Yellow Book.
From the show it seems like it is quite the opposite. I've seldom seen such an disappointment in grown women and men among those who don't make it, and such an happy relaxation among the chosen few. The Yellow Book appears to be the Guide Michelin of gardens. The listed gardens looks the part; the lawn seems to be handcombed, the flowers stands to attention or flows like waterfall at precisely the right spot. This show is well worth the thirty minutes spent on each program.
The tips for the vacation? Well, of course the NGS have a homepage, where you find a gardenfinder which makes it easy to plan a journey around the Great Kingdom. Better still is that some gardens have B&B. You could plan to go by car - or take the train to save the environment - and visit some of the most beautiful gardens in England. But I have to admit arriving with a rusty volvo to these paradise places feels like something of a blasphemy.
(Looks into wallet.) *Sigh* The budget alternative is to buy the Yellow Book itself. The NGS has kindly listed the price with p&p included on their homepage...
[No, I'm not sponsored by the NGS, I'm just a 100% garden junkie.]