The gardens will be built over the next five years at properties where the existing gardens have fallen into disrepair. When English Heritage commissioned a new garden at Walmer Castle, the number of visitors increased by 47 per cent in one year.
The first two gardens will be at Eltham Palace in south-east London and Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, and will be opened to the public in the summer of 2000. Later this year, subject to archaeological approval, designers will compete to design gardens at Richmond Castle, North Yorkshire and in Lincoln's Medieval Palace. The other six sites have yet to be announced.
Sir Jocelyn Stevens, the chairman of English Heritage, said: "At a time when English landscape and garden design is at a peak, English Heritage's challenge will provide a wonderful opportunity for designers to display their talents and to enrich the gardens and landscapes of England for many years to come."
Among the designers shortlisted are Stephen Woodhams, a Chelsea Flower Show gold medallist, Tom Stuart-Smith, who designed the Chanel garden at last year's show, and Rosemary Verey, who worked with Prince Charles at Highgrove. The new gardens will respect the surrounding architecture but will, in most cases be completely new creations. The winners of the competition to revamp the first two gardens will be announced on 14 July.Reuse content