An icon of early 20th century garden design, Hidcote has been much imitated as well as admired by the throngs of visitors who flock there. The garden rooms are surrounded by high yew hedges, with Italian influences but with a cottage garden feel in parts and luxuriant planting, much of it the new introductions from abroad. Johnston sponsored plant hunting expeditions and went on some as well.
Wayford Manor, near Crewkerne: Harold Peto designed this garden in 1902
Orangery at Hestercombe show 17th century formal influences, the luxuriant planting gives a modern twist. At Athelhampton you could be in a great garden of three centuries ago – but it was laid out in 1891.
The love affair with Italian gardens continued, even to the extent of bringing huge pieces of sculpture and classical remains home to adorn the grounds, as did Harold Peto at his home, Iford Manor in Wiltshire.
Anyone for tennis?
Outdoor activities in the garden became very popular. With more closely mown lawns since the invention of the lawnmower, croquet and lawn tennis became fashionable. From country house lawns to spacious rectory gardens, a tennis lawn was a great social draw.
On a summer’s day, a shady place to sit is a very pleasant place to be. By the 1900s a pergola draped with climbers was a ‘must have’ for gardens of the well off. Pergolas have their origins in ancient Rome, and had been again popular in Italy in Renaissance times, the idea brought to England where ‘bowers’ and ‘arbours’ were built. It was this Italian influence that made them fashionable in Edwardian times.
Some of the extremely ornate trellis work pergolas have not survived – Eaton Lodge in Essex was one. But others have, including the great pergola at Hestercombe and the 90 foot (30m) pergola built by Harold Peto at West Dean in West Sussex.
Great new plant introductions
This was also when plant hunters returned to China time and again to bring back a bounty of new introductions, among them Ernest ‘Chinese’ Wilson, his nickname due to the years spent hunting for rare plants in Yunnan and around that part of China. He introduced more than 1000 plants, including the pocket handkerchief tree Davidia involucrata, the regal lily, Lilium regale, rhododendrons, shrubs and trees; many gardens have at least one plant descended from a Wilson introduction.
He was born at Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire although the family moved away soon after. A Memorial Garden to him in the town commemorates his contribution to horticulture. Not far away, American-born but quintessentially English, Lawrence Johnston created a magical garden at Hidcote from the early 1900s.
& LAKESIDE GARDENSSHERBORNE CASTLE
A great day out for all the family Go to www.sherbornecastle.com
for opening times & more details
The formal and the informal, the exotic and the hardy perennial, all came together in the era which the garden writer Jane Brown recalled in her book, Gardens of a Golden Afternoon. The lovely afternoon ended with the brutal shock of World War I, when the teams of gardeners went to war, many of them never to return.
Go to see these Edwardian gardens
Gravetye Manor, East Hoathly, Sussex RH19 4LJ. William Robinson’s home, now a hotel; garden being restored. Tel. 01342 810567. www.gravetyemanor.co.uk
Hidcote Manor (NT), Hidcote Bartrim, nr. Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire GL55 6LR. Iconic early 20th century garden. www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Iford Manor, Bradford on Tone, Wiltshire BA15 2BA. Harold Peto’s home from 1899 until his death in 1934. Tel. 01225 863146. www.ifordmanor.co.uk
Wayford Manor, near Crewkerne, Somerset TA18 8QG. Harold Peto designed this garden for his sister and her husband in 1902. Open for the NGS and for groups, Mr and Mrs Robin Goffe. Tel. 01460 73253.
Buscot Park (NT), Faringdon, Oxfordshire SN7 8BU. Peto- designed water garden by the lake. Tel. 0845 345 515731 www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Athelhampton, near Dorchester, Dorset DT2 7LG. A prime Arts and Crafts Garden, complementing a 15th century house. Tel. 01305 848363 www.athelhampton.com
Rodmarton Manor, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 6PF, designed for the Biddulph family by Ernest Barnsley. Tel: 01285 841253.
Snowshill Manor (NT), Snowshill, near Broadway, Gloucestershire WR2 7JU. Eccentric collector Charles Wade’s home, with a garden of ‘rooms’. Tel: 01386 852410. www.nationaltrust.org.uk
The best of the surviving Jekyll/Lutyens gardens open to the public
Hestercombe Gardens, Cheddon Fitzpaine, near Taunton. Tel. 01823 413923. www.hestercombe.com
Barrington Court (NT), near Ilminster, Somerset TA19 0NQ. Jekyll-influenced flower garden. Tel. 01460 242614 (Infoline). www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Munstead Wood, Heath Lane, Busbridge, Godalming, Surrey. Gertrude Jekyll’s home from 1889 until her death in 1934. Tel. 01483 417867. Sir Robert and Lady Clark. Open by appointment.
The Manor House, Upton Grey, near Basingstoke, Hampshire RG25 2RD. The most authentic Jekyll garden left, with planting to her original plans. Open for groups by appointment. Mr and Mrs J. Wallinger. Tel. 01256 862827.
Castle • Tea Room Gift Shop
Beautiful gardens and lakeside walks
Children’s Quiz and Garden Trail
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