About the garden
Howard Hull / Charlotte Woodger
New for 2023: Brantwood is John Ruskin’s former home, an eminent Victorian art critic and social reformer, his Grade II listed house is now a museum surrounded by a 250 acre estate on the shores of Coniston Water. The gardens host a wide range of styles from formal to informal, including allegorical, cottage and woodland gardens, deeply planted herbaceous borders and gardens dedicated to native plants, as well as wisteria, fern and apple plant collections.
In addition to Ruskin’s historic harbour and the Jetty, the Estate includes ancient coppice woods, carpets of bluebells, a species-rich traditional hay meadow, and an orchid-rich heathland on Crag Head, with impressive views across the fells of the Lake District.
The range of different habitats means the land is bio-diverse and home to nationally rare flora and fauna. Each season a different area reaches its peak taking you through spring bulbs and rhododendrons, bluebell woods, ferns, summery herbaceous borders, a hay meadow, autumn colour in the Estate and Maple Walk, Moss Garden and spectacular lake views on crisp winter days
Brantwood’s horticultural history started when WJ Linton wrote The Ferns of the English Lake Country, published in 1865. When Ruskin arrived, he started work on the garden, experimenting with planting and altering water courses. His cousin Joan also gardened at Brantwood, both corresponding with the author William Robinson. Many original plants survive, such as Joan’s maples and apple trees, managed for biodiversity and succession.
In 2022 the team began a collaboration with the Plant Heritage Northern Wisteria Collection, planting 20 Wisteria floribunda cultivars along the Trellis Walk and other species around the house and cafe.