One of England’s most influential 20th century gardens, Hidcote Manor is situated in the northern Cotswolds close to Chipping Campden. At heart Hidcote is a plantsman’s garden and owes its plant collection to its creator Lawrence Johnston, an American who moved to Hidcote in 1907 with his mother, Mrs Winthrop. Johnston was foremost a botanist and plant collector. At present the National Trust are undertaking a project to restore the gardens to what Vita Sackville-West described as “a jungle of beauty”.
The first time we visited this garden was in July when the roses and lilies were predominant. The Plant House was open to the elements and the wicker chairs entice you to sit and contemplate for a while. Seeing the elderly in their straw hats you could almost imagine yourself to be back in the Edwardian period. The grounds do get very busy as coaches come here from all over the country, but especially day trips from London. The good news is that they remain open until 7 p.m. in the summer so if you are travelling independently then my advice is to stay until late – that way you can see the gardens without the crowds. Our second visit was the beginning of June after a very cold spring and the gardens were quite different then. The colours were mostly pink and purple with alliums, lilacs, irises and peonies most prominent.
The gardens are spectacular – with lots of ‘rooms’ such as the White Garden, the Maple Garden, the Old Garden and the Pillar Garden and between them you have the borders. Don’t miss the Long Walk – at the end you have glorious views over the Cotswolds. And don’t forget the Long Borders.
(click on a photo to take a walk through the gardens with me)