Thursday, 23 June 2011

Plant House

 The Plant House is looking rather splendid at the moment, it's all filling out nicely! This time of year is particularly exciting as the front panels that protect  this structure over winter are removed, and hung out of sight off the back of the building until the threat of Jack Frost reappears, when they are chucked back on. The Plant House now resembles a sort of pergola type affair, and really looks at its best during this time. Bats swoop through here in the evening, picking off any insects caught inside the glass of the roof. Wonderful stuff!

Panels removed from the front.

Panels being moved to the back of the building.

Sincere apologies for the lack of posts recently, I have been sunk in the depths of RHS exam revision! Now, finally, that grim tide has rolled back I'm left sprawling like a spider crab on the sands of uncertainty until September when the results come in. I quite enjoyed the experience and feel certain I passed but of course there is no way to know until the day we all hear! Now I'm looking forward to the summer and catching up on all the blogs I like to read! Pip pip. 

Archive: Stilt Garden

An image from the Conde Nast colour series of 1948.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Mrs Winthrop’s Garden

Mrs Gertrude Winthrop was Lawrence Johnston’s mother, and purchased the Hidcote estate at auction in 1907. Johnston designed this garden for her, utilising her favourite colours yellow and blue. This is one of my favourite parts of the garden!

Eryngium bourgatii

Friday, 10 June 2011

Rosa ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’

Seen here flowering in fine form at the rear of the Maple Garden, cascading itself merrily over an old yew tree! This is a technique used several times in the garden; the rose is planted within a few metres of the tree base and then allowed to wind its way up in search of the sun. It’s clearly not a grouping one would employ in a very formal garden, but it certainly ticks all the right boxes for the ‘cottage garden’ informal style that gardens such as Hidcote trade under.

I’m not sure if anybody managed to catch the Hidcote documentary but it is now viewable on the old BBC iPlayer. I have it on good authority that the bally thing is not available in America yet, but presumably this is just a temporary state of affairs.
I managed to get my neck in a few times, if you are visiting the garden soon please say, ‘what ho!’ As a final note I’d like to add that I will be continuing to blog as Bertie, as if none of this had ever happened! Stiff upper lip.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Cytisus battandieri

Pineapple Broom, filling the air with its magnificent pineapple scent! This is an original Johnston plant, brought back by him from Morocco.

P.S. a gentle nudge in the direction of BBC4 this evening for the Hidcote documentary.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

White Garden

This is one of the gardens closest to the house and was initially laid out by Johnston as the Phlox Garden many years ago. It contains all sorts of little gems and I’ll be posting them up here as the season’s progress!

View from the Maple Garden

Looking down from Cedar Lawn

Lilium martagon var. album

Lamium maculatum ‘White Nancy’

Bugs life

An assortment of friends and foes spotted in the garden recently.

Shield beetle

Black ground beetle (eats slugs - hurrah!)

Dock-leaf beetle larvae

Not sure what this is, hoverfly type chap

Polygonatum fans look away now! Solomon’s Seal sawfly.

Lily beetle (They look quite pleasant, but will happily munch through your Lily and Fritillary leaves in no time. The young larvae do something to protect themselves, which is so disgraceful I refuse to type it here!)

Monday, 6 June 2011

Major Lawrence Johnston

Lawrence Johnston created Hidcote and began doing so when his old mother, Gertrude Winthrop, bought the 300-acre Cotswold estate at auction in 1907. He was born in Paris in 1871 to American parents, and spent his early years in France before moving to New York. Then in 1893 he travelled over to England to study at Cambridge, after which time he headed off to Northumberland to prepare for a career in agriculture! Thankfully dreams of life on the farm were cut short when in 1900, with a rush of blood to the head and doubtless a few drops of the old Dutch courage; he became a naturalised English citizen and immediately took the King’s shilling to sail off to South Africa for the Boer War. This led to a distinguished military career, fighting in the First World War and rising to the rank of Major!

In amongst all of this swashbuckling and derring-do, the old boy made serious headway with designing and laying out the garden on the farm fields that surrounded the manor house. The garden was completed in the late 20s, at which point Johnston’s main task was filling it with plants! This he did with serious aplomb, funding and travelling himself on many plant-hunting expeditions to such far-flung places as China, South America and Mount Kilimanjaro. He bred and introduced many plants, and found time to create another garden on the French Riviera, Serre de la Madone. He died there in 1958, gifting his magnum opus to the National Trust.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Gillenia trifoliata

Bowman’s Root, seen here flowering in the Old Garden. This is a marvellous plant!


Two anonymous visitors taking time out from their hectic garden touring schedule to sprawl languidly on the lawn of the Lilac Circle. An uplifting sight!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011


Joyous times as the new Hidcote pigs are now installed on the Kitchen Garden plot! These are again rare breed Berkshires, here’s one of the other gardeners Eric with new chums Ernest & George!
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