The British are a nation of garden visitors. Join the rush, but make the visit a profitable one by walking round with a critical eye, memory or notebook at the ready. If permitted, a camera is indispensable. Check the opening arrangements, which can vary infinitely. Bone up on the key features of the garden in advance, but don’t crowd your mind with facts-let the garden speak for itself, and look at the broad picture, as well as the fine detail. Extra benefits include a word with the owner or gardener, worthy plants for sale and, of course, afternoon tea.

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