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Hidcote – A Garden With Many Rooms

Think of a Garden as You Would a House: a Series of Different Rooms.

In a house, each room can be quite different to the next, both in appearance and purpose.

Each section of a garden can also vary in its appearance and purpose. This is how some of the best landscape designers think of gardens.

Rooms or sections of a garden can be separated by hedges, dense shrubberies, trellis or walls of stone, timber or any other material. The floor of a garden may be covered with gravel, lawn, paving, creepers, low shrubs or even water. The roof is most often the sky; but it could also be the interlocking canopy of large trees or the framework of some other structure such as an arched walk or pergola.

One of the best examples of the outdoor room concept is Hidcote Manor, near Stratford upon Avon in England. Even if you only have a small garden, you can find inspiration in some of Hidcotes smaller outdoor rooms.

There are 28 distinct garden areas at Hidcote. The series of smaller hedged gardens close to the house are particularly inspiring. Soon after entering Hidcote, most people find themselves at the circle garden. From this point, paths lead in two main directions; one through the Red Borders to the stilt garden, and the other down a series of terraces to the bathing pool garden.

The Red Borders is an enclosed rectangular garden filled with plants that have predominantly red and purple coloured flowers (and some red foliage). This creates a warm feeling, even in cold weather. In contrast to the Red Borders, the White Garden is made up of plants with white flowers (and some silver and grey foliage), providing a cool feeling, even on hot days.

The Stilt Garden comprises two rows of clipped hornbeam trees on clean trunks (all the low branches are removed), over a clean pattern of gravel paths and patches of lawn covering the ground. At the far end is a metal gate through which you can see distant views across the countryside.

The Bathing Pool Garden is dominated by a large mirror pool (called a mirror pool, because it is large enough to reflect extensive images of the surrounding hedges and trees beyond). Cool colours are featured in the plants (e.g. blue poppies and willow gentians) in keeping with the coolness of the water.

Hidcote was the dream and life’s work of Lawrence Johnson, the son of wealthy American parents, born in France and educated at Cambridge. His inheritance enabled him to spend the best part of his life indulging his passion for gardening and plant collecting. In 1948, Lawrence Johnston gave Hidcote to the National Trust who manage have managed it ever since. Hidcote is open to the public and a must see for anyone visiting Britain.

Opening Dates and Times
Late March to end October: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday
June and July: Every day except Friday
11am to 7pm or dusk

For further information, contact:
Hidcote Manor Garden
Chipping Campden
Gloucestershire, England GL55 6LR
Tel: +013 8643 8333


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