Hidcote Manor is a National Trust property. Designed by Major Lawrence Johnston an American, begun in 1907. The gardens 280 acres are actually many different gardens within one, showcased by vistas, doorways and constant surprises as one passes from one garden to the next. One defining feature of Hidcote is it’s living hedges of clipped hornbeam which intern define individual gardens, rooms and corridors exits. Many landscape devices cleverly beacon one’s eyes from one garden to the next lead you around from the Theater Lawn, White Garden, Red Borders, Pillar Garden, Long Walk or Rose Walk.
When visiting Hidcote also try to visit Kifsgate Court which is just across the road, when planning keep in mind Kifsgates limited opening hours.
In Winchcombe between Cheltenham an Stow on the Wold in the Cotswolds on the Cotswold Way an ancient foot path that runs 110 miles from Bath to Chipping Campden.
Sudeley was once the home of Queen Katherine Parr, sixth and final wife of Henry VIII, she is buried in the chapel there. Henry VIII, Ann Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I are know to have stayed in the castle. The centerpiece of the garden is the formal Queens Garden of old roses and herb edged beds. The magnificent ruins of the Banqueting Hall where now a lovely garden grows. Another highpoint the garden is known for is it’s fine sculptural yew hedges with interconnecting doorways and corridors provide the basis of movement through the gardens. The tithe barn and adjacent pool is also quite a sight.
Mottisfont Abbey Rose Garden
The Abbey was consecrated in 1224. The rose garden was created in 1972 from the eminent rosarian Graham Stuart Thomas’ collection. It is the largest collection of ancient and 19th century roses. The garden features two large walled rose gardens and herbaceous borders. Roses climbing stretching, arching over benches, twisting up pergolas and creeping along the ground. White foxgloves waver in a soft summer breeze. Hundreds perennials of every height and colour draw the eye on a rollercoaster of garden delight.
Wisley is the Garden of the Royal Horticultural Society.
It is a vast garden with something for every plant lover. The main rose beds are divided by colour there are red beds, yellow beds, pink beds and white beds. There are other roses as well. The garden is close to London and one of my favourite things about Wisley was seeing all the ladies dressed in their flowery frocks and summer bonnets for a days out at the garden.
Sissinghurst in Kent, is the premiere garden of England. Sissinghurst is truly a garden of magic. It is the garden of Vita Sackville West author of 40 + books and her husband author Sir Harold Nicolson. The property was purchased in 1930 for £12,500. This is a garden with a unique personality that revolves around the interesting lives of both Vita and Harold. Vita has a most interesting family history, childhood at Knole (then) the largest private house in England with 365 rooms, 52 staircases and 7 gardens, Vita could not inherit her ancestral home because of her sex. Many scandals rocked the lives of the Sackvilles and Nicolson’s.
When the Nicolson’s arrived in 1930 there was but one rose. They began restoring the 6 acres of the derelict castle where several centuries of rubbish lay for them to create magic out of. Harold was the planner, he designed the walls, walks and vistas and Vita the planter, she chose the plants and flowers with meticulous detail. From the moment one enters it’s arched gateway where walls of abundant roses cling to the medieval brick, one can not help but be fascinated by every sight. Whether it be a vista, a flower, a statue or a brick each step brings explosions of colour and depth. One can climb the stairs of the tower where Vita wrote her many books and have a first class view of the grounds from atop the majestic twin towers.
Ten gardens now comprise Sissinghurst, the rose garden is grand italiante style and formal with a twist of Vita Sackville West’s personal style, with profuse under planting and companion planting. Beyond the first rose garden a second the Rondel Garden. Beyond that a cottage garden of only warm colored flowers of varying hues of yellow, orange and red.
Far from the kitchen sits Herb Garden complete with chamomile bench, Constantinople bowl and over 100 varieties of edible and colourful herbs. The grounds also sport a Moat, Gazebo, many fine statues, 4 separate houses within the garden plus, Oasthouses, Lime Walk, Nuttery and Orchard, a pond and a woodland walk through coppice trees.
By far the most famous, the White Garden with it’s dense centerpiece of rosa mulliganii and 125 varieties of white and gray plants attracts much attention during it’s bloom. It is said to hold a heavenly glow on a late June eve’s full moon. The White Garden blooms a bit later than the main rose garden was created after WWII it was the last of the Gardens Vita and Harold designed and planted. The White Garden has been imitated throughout the world.
Culpeper Garden at Leeds Castle
While in Kent visiting Sissinghurst you might as well drive north to Leeds Castle to visit the lovely Culpeper Gardens, named for the 17th century owner of Leeds castle though small in size this garden is rich in old roses and perennials.