Friday 30 July 2010

Hidcote Manor Gardens in Gloucestershire

By: Blue Badge Tour Guide - Anne Bartlett
One of the most popular gardens to visit in Gloucestershire is Hidcote Manor Gardens right on the northern edge of the Cotswold escarpment above Chipping Campden.

Now if you have never visited Hidcote, it has the reputation of being one of the greatest gardens of the 20th century. It was built as a series of outdoor 'rooms', all with different themes such as the white garden, the red borders, the Fuchia garden, the stream garden and the wilderness to name but some.
It was over 100 years ago that a Mrs Gertrude Winthrop and her son Laurence Johnston bought the Hidcote Manor Estate. There was a large stone built farmhouse with a kitchen garden and lawn, and the rest of the estate was farmland. Johnston then aged about 36 set about designing and creating the various gardens from open fields working outwards from the house. He employed about 12 gardeners and between them they planted hedges to frame the different gardens, laid the paths and created the flower beds.
Amazingly Johnston was largely self taught, but he became a very knowledgeable plant expert, he enjoyed collecting rare and unusual plants himself. He went on expeditions to the Far East to find new plants; he also sponsored other people to go plant collecting for him so it became a very interesting and special garden.
The heyday of the garden was in the 1930’s but by the mid 1940’s Johnston was getting old and frail and he decided to move permanently to his other home in France. He gave Hidcote Manor Gardens to The National Trust and they took it over in 1948.

The National Trust has since owned Hidcote for a longer time than Laurence Johnston owned it. Recently the Trust was given a very large sum of money and they’ve raised a great deal more, in order to restore the estate to how it looked in its heyday.

Gardens are always changing and at Hidcote exciting new projects have been undertaken.
Yesterday, Thursday 29th July the restored sub tropical plant house was properly opened by Roy Lancaster - horticulturalist, writer and broadcaster.

For further information you can either look at the National Trust website which is or you can telephone the garden – and the number is 01386 438333

For group guided  Cotswold coach tours- to include a visit to Hidcote Manor Gardens, contact:

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