For many years I have heard talk of The Miserden Garden near Stroud, but as the new decade arrived, I made Miserden my mission and set off to view it in glorious 2020 vision!!

From the moment I arrived, via the pretty village of Miserden, which is all part of the 3000 acre estate, it was clear that here was a garden both green and glorious and one to which I knew I would wish to return. Designed in the 17th century, surrounding the effortlessly elegant manor house at its heart, the garden and estate have been in the same family ownership for over 100 years. I started my tour under a pair of ancient wrought iron gates; if only their metal could murmur, the stories these garden guardians could tell! Here is a garden of romance and tradition, full of Cotswolds charm and enveloped in the beauty of the Golden Valley over which it surveys.

An impressive copper beech greeted us as we entered the walled garden, home to what are believed to be the longest borders in this country under private ownership. At 92m long and 5m wide, I’m not going to argue! As spring approaches they are full of the promise of shoots to come as heavenly herbaceous unfurl in the coming months. The nearby Yew Walk was designed by the famed Edwin Lutyens in the 20th century and is framed at one end by a stately urn and at the other with gates, steps and a distant water feature. Yew is a repeat feature in the grounds and perfectly clipped offers sophisticated structure to this winter garden.

At another turn, six varieties of aged apple trees have been politely pruned and show off their knarled beauty against the winter sky. Cages of soft fruit look on in anticipation of their harvest to come – produce here is obviously important. In fact sustainability is at the heart of the estate, with wood chip used from the grounds to heat the houses in the village. I feel as we become more and more passionate about saving our environment, Miserden Estate is certainly leading the way.

The Manor House is a perfect jewel in this crown of the Cotswolds with its Wisteria clad walls, flowers dripping like amethysts in a few months’ time. The grounds around undulate beautifully and take advantage of the valley which wraps itself around the property like the most divine of botanical bed spreads!

My favourite part of the garden was undoubtedly the grass steps of which there are two examples – such a simple yet effective

feature, stone edged and in the summer months filled with Lobelia in-between to give the impression of a waterfall! Why have I not seen this before? Surely everyone should have some.

Many features have been here for years, namely a mulberry dated to 1620, however the garden is always evolving with plans in progress to plant a new wild meadow this year to include a plethora of grasses and bulbs. To celebrate the millennium, the current owner’s father, Major Tom Wills, created a rill with fountain and also a summerhouse using reclaimed oak from the estate. Trees are a favourite of the family and planting is an on-going process, with Major Tom creating all the labels in the Arboretum himself. New saplings stand hand in hand with ancient cedars and an oak planted on the birth of current owner Nicholas (not that he is ancient…he’s actually quite young)! I particularly loved the Sycamore growing through an old stone wall – you can still see the crumbling stone merged with the base of the trunk! Natural un-planned beauty!

The independent nursey on site, run by Sophie Dolphin, is the perfect place to pick out a top quality plant or two before your departure, well worth a visit and highly praised in horticultural circles. There is also a café should you feel the need to partake of a warm drink and cake (surely a must?!).

This theatrical garden is not only home to its plants and sculptures, but has recently introduced outdoor theatre performances – I’m in heaven, my two passions, plants and the stage combined! Could this place get any better?!

Here is a garden which respects its heritage but is constantly moving forward with the times both environmentally and aesthetically to ensure that it is one of the most beautiful gardens in this country.

The Garden at Miserden is open weekends in February and then Tuesday-Sunday and Bank Holidays from 1st March onwards. Winner of Historic Houses Garden of 2018, Miserden is a must!




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