Broughton Castle, Banbury, Oxfordshire

This is a midsummer night's dream of a garden, with wisterias, roses, and drifts of perennials foaming around castle walls. You will recognise it as the location for 'Shakespeare in Love' and other films. The borders follow designs by Lanning Roper, who came here in 1969 and left instructions that the plants should be allowed "to spill" in carefree fashion.

Letting plants self-seed a little, and not manicuring too much, is one of the keys to atmospheric gardening. The romantic mood is fostered by a talented head gardener and enthusiastic owners, Lord and Lady Saye and Sele, whose family home this has been since 1377. I love bringing American friends here since it is quitessential unspoilt England.

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