A three-day tour from a base at the Royal Hotel, Ventnor, visited gardens with a range of styles, some showing the influence of more Mediterranean themes to take advantage of the local climate and topography. Visitors enjoyed talks and tours from individual garden hosts who readily fielded members’ questions, sharing their own experiences and, sometimes, even offering their full planting lists to aid exploration.
The first morning began with a short tour of the gardens of the Royal Hotel, Ventnor, led by the head gardener, Gary Steptoe. Gary described a major replanting programme over the last 11 years. This has introduced varieties that make the most of soils ranging from sandy to clay above chalk, and conditions ranging from sheltered in front of the hotel to an exposed viewpoint across the road.