Where do you look for your garden inspiration?
On Saturday I found myself with a whole day free due to all previous plans being postponed. I had been telling Mum about my change of circumstances and that I was wondering what to do with myself, when she suggested we visit another National Trust property. Last month we had chosen to visit Upton House and Gardens, although we had got Hidcote on the list then, so with the glorious weather we are currently experiencing, the clear choice was Hidcote. Situated near Chipping Campden in the picturesque Cotswolds, Hidcote is a celebrated 20th century garden. It is the work of an American, Lawrence Johnston, who started to cultivate the iconic gardens in 1907 and went on to develop a wonderful showcase of individual gardens that each tell a story. The National Trust have returned these gardens to their 1930s heyday and I was looking forward to seeing them.
On arrival at Hidcote you are greeted by the plant centre and a small cafe. As we hadn’t been before we weren’t sure whether this was the only cafe and being lunch time we took the opportunity to have a cream tea to fuel our walk around the gardens – well it would have been rude not too!
We then headed off to find the main entrance to the gardens, which we found to the right of the plant centre. The approach up to the small manor house is wonderful, with a small chapel to the left and on the right the outbuilding now hosts the shop.
To get to the gardens you go through the manor house and a couple of the rooms are set as they would have been when Johnston lived there until 1948. It had some lovely features that I love on these old stone buildings.
There are a total of 30 areas that include gardens and walks, plus tennis courts. I loved the way that each garden has its own personality but that everything just flows so effortlessly together. There were so many natural photo opportunities set up with the planting of the borders and topiary, where you can see through two or three gardens. I happily snapped away in all of the gardens including the maple, poppy, kitchen and pillar gardens.
We walked up the long walk and were greeted by glorious Cotswold countryside, which is one of my favourite views. Although I was slightly disappointed not to see any rapeseed fields as we had done on the drive to Hidcote. Walking back towards the theatre lawn you get an amazing view of the summer houses.
From here we headed towards the kitchen gardens and on the way you go through the garden yard and it was here where there is the most wonderful display of wisteria. The smell was divine, having never smelt it before I was captivated.
Before you get to the kitchen garden you see the plant house, which was lovely but rather hot to spend too much time in.
When I first looked at the map the area looked too large for us to get round in one day, but we managed the majority of the gardens apart from a few of the longer walks.
Whilst I was at Hidcote, I decided to become a member of the National Trust. As we have made a few visits to National Trust properties this year and plan more, I thought it would be good value for money. The lady who went through the membership options was so very helpful and I left with my bumper welcome pack.
I can’t wait to go back to Hidcote when the seasons change and see the foliage in fall colours, I bet they will rival New England any day.
If you like visiting gardens, then Hidcote is a must, on each visit you are sure to find something new to discover. There are two places to eat, a plant shop and regular gift and souvenirs shop. The only slight negatives are the signage from the car park was not well placed and the gravel paths were not the easiest to navigate.
English country gardens in summer……..they get my best in show!
Lula Belle x