April 25, 2014

Westbury Court

Started back in the late 1600's, Westbury Court is the oldest style garden we will visit in July.  The Dutch influence was strong in this period of Royal and religious turmoil in England.  After looking to France for all things cultural, the Protestant state of the Holland became the importer of cultural ideas.  Long straight lines, canals, rows of trees, topiary and hedges are Dutch elements introduced to the English garden at the end of the seventeenth century.  

"Westbury Court, Gloucestershire, has the last remaining Dutch-style water garden in Britain.  Dating from the 18th century, it is very simple and serene.  Evergreen hedges, topiary and perfectly straight canals of still water calm the soul.  All the plants, even those in the vegetable garden, are 18th-century varieties to tie in the water garden.  Small but perfectly formed."  -- From Gardens Illustrated magazine

Kept small by lack of land, the Dutch created lots of variety in a small space.  Their garden elements were funtional, canal were drainage ditches, rows of trees a windbreak.  The new Protestant King lead the decline of the French formal parterre designs in England.  Along with Hercules, Neptune is a political symbol of the William of Orange, the new King of England.  At Westbury Court we will see a statue of Neptune, long canal, topiaries and satisfying vistas opening up.
"Westbury Court Garden was never a large garden, and what remains today is a skillful and delightful restoration of about two-thirds of the original site. In 1696, Maynard Colchester, a local squire, who had recently the good fortune to marry the daughter and heiress of a wealthy City mercer; started the garden; which was continued and enlarged by his nephew. Following William of Orange’s Glorious Revolution in 1688, England was in almost constant warfare with France for a generation; and the Dutch style in gardens became popular for a whole series of political and fashionable reasons." -- Westbury Court Garden – A Dutch Survivor by Richard Jackson

Alice's Garden Travel Buzz has some good recent photographs.

We have two spots remaining on our tour July 11-18th 2014.   Click here for the itinerary.

April 12, 2014

Rodmarton Manor Garden

The our second day of the tour we will be visiting Rodmarton Manor.  Rodmarton was built in the true essence of the Arts & Crafts movement as it was happening in 1909.  Centrally located in the Cotswold and ground zero for the movement, this garden will show you a good foundation for all Arts & Crafts gardens later in the tour. Those gardens: Hidcote, East Lambrook Manor, Hestercombe, The Courts, & Tintinhull; all are rooted in what we see at Rodmarton and possess different merits to attain our tour.
Author and British garden historian Tim Richardson wrote a good article for The Telegraph about Rodmarton.
"Rodmarton’s garden was the real thing at the time and remains so today. A visit to this garden can give you an authentic savour of what Arts and Crafts meant to those disciples of William Morris who practised their crafts so assiduously and passionately in the first decades of the 20th century." -- Tim Richardson via The Telegraph

April 02, 2014

Hidcote Manor Garden

Okay here comes another entry for the beauty that awaits you on this summer's English garden tour 2014. Drumroll please… Hidcote.

Hidcote was the work of a man named Lawrence Waterbury Johnston. Johnston was already 36 when he arrived in Gloucestershire with his mother in 1907. She purchased the property at auction in the hopes that her only surviving son would become a farmer. Instead he became a plantsman extraordinaire. Johnston is responsible for many plant introductions, including Jasminum polyanthum also known as pink flowering jasmine. Any plant that is named either Hidcote or Johnston's this or that is attributed to Johnston. He left no diaries or plant records as to the creation of the gardens. He wasn't a member of the Royal Horticulture Society. Few photos survive to give us any insight into who Johnston was. What we do know is that he never married and his best friends were society ladies.

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