Seasons at the Water Garden

John Spedan Lewis devoted his spare time to nature and restructured the water garden to complement each season as it came.

Each plant was grounded to brighten up the cold winter months and shine bright in the Summer sun. Discover what you can expect throughout the year at the glorious Longstock Park Water Garden.


Spring awakens early in the garden, feeding the lake and warming the shallow waters. The first shoots slowly start to blossom and come alive from the icy winter chills.

Spring is the time of awakening and by March to April some of the blossoms have opened and every bank is alive with new growth. Many species spread through the garden and woodlands and unearth their buds - Birch, Willow, Swamp Cypress and the deciduous Conifers. 

In common with the The Orchards and Vineyard at Leckford Estate, most of the soil is chalk land. Throughout the woodland area of peat, the Rhododendrons and Camellias blossom with the light spring sun. Their colours drift through the trees and dance around the woodland. The remises of Winter fading with every day, replaced by lush green leaves and shoots.

The garden is open to the public from April. For more information on opening hours please visit our contacts page.


As the sun becomes a fuller, constant figure, the vegetation becomes more striking by the day. The herbaceous perennials of spring give way to bold beds of Primula Candelabra by June, interspersed with the towering colour of Foxgloves, day Lilies and Lupins. The foliage and flowers take over and it is impossible to see the divide between the bank and the water. Every different path greets you with a new colour, a new plant, an unusual species making a new home or an unusual variety to explore.

Summer is the time to enjoy every aspect of Longstock Park Water Garden and witness the forty types of Waterlilies in full blossom. The last varieties of primula have reached their full potential from their early start  in March and now stand proudly with the sun.

The Summer takes over, and it is the run of the numerous members of the Iris family, followed in June by the Astibes, while  the many other hardy perennials, like our varieties of Lobelia, bloom wildly into Autumn. The shade of waterside trees provides the perfect habitat for many ferns.

Lush greenery, rich colours, the story that Longstock becomes, the homes, the sudden splash, the warmth and the scents is every reason why you should visit this summer.


As a devoted botanist, John Spedan Lewis planted the array of plants that make up Longstock Park Water Garden, with a motive. With the help of his gardener, Jim Saunders they both picked the trees precisely to create a warm but striking environment. The Tricyrtis, Rudbeckia and Asters offer a final flourish of colour, as the gardeners prepare to cut all the edges down to ground level. 

Even on a dull, cold day the water reflects an array of golden brassy shades. The red tones of the Swamp Cypress shine and instantly warm up the garden, carefully complementing the leaves. The leaves glow care freely, bouncing along the floor with the light Autumn breeze, shimmering a light copper burn.

The birch & oaks add the pale yellows and the sharp golds to brighten up the garden, slowly revealing the transformation into Winter, illuminating the garden in a completely different light. It is a constant change of a landscape of colours, through to the end of November. 

The garden closes to the public at the end of October.  For more information on our opening hours and bookings please see visitor information on the water garden page.


Longstock Park Water Garden in winter is a beautiful and peaceful setting. The garden is stripped back bare and the icicles hang low. This time of the year provides the perfect opportunity to study the garden's complex topography.

It is a chance to see the original works of John Spedan Lewis, looking at the tiny islands and connecting bridges, admiring the many reflections.

On the coldest nights the lake freezes over and frames the bare trees, casting reflections in the deep waters slowly, awaiting spring.


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