Return To Hidcote Manor

078Having some relatives to stay was the just the excuse we had been looking for to go back to Hidcote. Still my favourite, and possibly the nation’s favourite National Trust garden. Relaxed and informal with good plant sales, lovely cafe, plenty of parking and 10 acres of varied, interesting and well maintained gardens.016

The red border was closed for grass maintenance and watering during our visit which was a shame but just catching a glimpse of those Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’, and red salvias backed by the dark Physocarpus, Sambucus nigra and Cotinus was enough.008

The burgeoning borders now spilling over the paths were a real treat to the senses and this Geranium psilostemon (or is it Anne Folkard – I can never tell the difference!) in particular was impressive.028

This yellow and blue ‘room’ with acid green Euphorbias and frothy Alchemilla mollis, Thalictrum flavum glaucum and what appear to be Helianthus yet to come are balanced perfectly by blue salvias, nepeta and veronicas.031

It was a perfect day to visit Hidcote. The warm sunshine made everything glow and sparkle, the army of gardeners and volunteers conspicuously absent and yet obviously working away in the background, and some of the finest gardens in England. Well worth the annual fee to belong to the National Trust just to be able to visit three or four times a year. Inspirational, motivational and educational. A treat for any gardener.

6 thoughts on “Return To Hidcote Manor

    • No shame dear gardener as spend lots of time at Hidcote and soon only that matters and you sell to buy land to build your own larger gardens.It happened to me and 6 years on Hidcote idea is planed in design to fit my six acres exact. My own set up using his pond size and rooms with hedges. Metal double gates with brick supports from old barn 1712. I added postern gate from gardens on to lake walk one end and forest walk other end.In between hedges borders avenues and water features .Edwardian greenhouse Folley summerhouse and six garden rooms.Still awaiting for hedges to reach 12 feet but will be happy with 8 foot. That is what takes the time but Johnston went to war during that time. Bit by bit now as a pensioner but have jobs to do because of it. Keeps me fit and interested and something to get out of bed early for. I have statues of Roman Gods and such and ornamental bantams bright orange that drift over lawns like a fire brand .Swans on my lake of just half acre and my rose pergoda arches 12 foot wide and high run across one side of lake to be able to fully view the fish and water falls. Bit more than Hidcote in fact but pinched his read border idea mine is how he had it blue and yellow spot in white. All owing to a deep love of Hidcote. Good luck dear Glynn Jones where ever you are now.

  1. I went to Hidcote last week, but I found Kiftsgate just across the road, a nicer garden with a wider range of plants. Disappointingly I find that the private owned gardens are better kept than the national ones, but perhaps I am too hard to please.

  2. I had to smile when you said that the red borders were closed. They have been closed more often than not on my several visits. For me, timing is paramount in enjoying a garden. Two weeks either way can make a huge difference. I find Hidcote to be a real enigma. It is very much a curate’s egg. Some parts are excellent, others inexplicably poor. For example, a few years ago (August 2011 from memory) the garden by the Plant House was breathtaking and original. On my next visit, two years later in early September, they had replaced this with something much more mundane. I usually visit in August or the first few days of September – for some reason it never looks right earlier in the season. Often the red borders look tired and drooping, but last time they were the best I have seen them. The Pillar Garden (one of my favourite parts and reliably well-maintained) was off-limits. Always much of the garden seems neglected and poorly-maintained, with a few parts immaculate, but it is impossible to predict which parts. I find this aspect really puzzling. The large walled garden (old garden?) has some interesting plants and an exciting “hidden secrets” atmosphere but is always just a bit too untidy. If they did more deadheading, we would get a better display from many of the plants.,e.g. Dahlias.
    I agree with the previous commentator that the private gardens tend to be better kept – I think Kiftsgate certainly beats Hidcote in this respect. Snowshill Manor (National Trust) garden was a disappointment to me (August 2011).

  3. Hidcote stands alone as icon of arts and crafts design from 1900 on to war. Nothing quite like it anyplace on earth. To say it is second best to any garden in England shows that the writer is of modern mind and sees only plantings .Hidcote is an over all plan or features and if that idiot Graham Thomas had not done way with Johnstons loved statues and art works we would have had it all in one place. I am not saying that kiftsgate is any less of a garden but it is not made to copy Hidcote at all. Two very different ideas of gardens in fact. Hidcote was built as a set of rooms for the owner and creator and a few valued friends it was never meant to take the toll of public feet that have so beaten down the very fabric of what it was in 1954 as a child I walked around it first in life. Since them perhaps thirty times . So loved it built my own as my private world and bit by bit more is added. It has wind breaking hedges and large and small rooms much the same as Johnston had. One summerhouse and four drives with two metal 10 foot gates four old brick supports and many features.Still have to build a fish pond room but until the hedges reach 7 feet that can wait. Long drive from first main gates down to rose bower Mermaid water pool and fountain two wide 170 yard flower borders line each side of drive way 15 foot across.
    Then the lamp post and lanes divide west and east one garden and summerhouse court yard and lake one way .Medici room and sundial court with forest walk the other. The rose arched pergoda walk edges the lake side for views across to the water fall on other side of lake. .6 years of build up to now and mostly by myself. It is an ongoing project much as MAJOR jOHNSTON that Fench born Englishman with American heritage must have Thought too when working on his designs in head. Understand him most certainly I do he is but a silent nice easy man who fell in love with gardening and one lovely lady we know of. It was love responded Im sure and her child born to no one mentioned is 90% certainly his.The times they lived in would not condone the non married lovers so as he was secretive and closed by nature she too had to cover the matter off.
    However who could have been the father as she stayed with him at Hidcote so often and he with her that time did not allow her to have a lover at all. Unless it was Constantine immaculate conception full sure Lawrence was the father of her child. He was not a queer just a man who had been so bullied by a domineering mother and having a very silent way he must have suffered much. He hated crowds and lots of fuss. His relief was Hidcote gardens only his when his mother died and left him not her fortune as she saw him as spender not a income maker. To her the gardens meant nothing she wanted him as a gentleman farmer only.

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