Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hidcote and Kiftsgate

When we starting planning our England trip, it was clear that it was going to take a little schedule juggling to balance all the places we wanted to visit with the sometimes limited opening hours of privately owned properties.  We almost decided not to go to Gloucestershire, since we were driving all the way from Cambridge (and then back to Windsor), just to visit two gardens.  The factor that pushed us over the edge, however, was that the two gardens were Hidcote and Kiftsgate.  After driving two hours from Cambridge to Gloucestershire, then another two back to Windsor, I can confidently say that it was definitely worth it!

I was completely enamored of Hidcote almost from the first second.  Just seeing this incredible shade of blue used on the gates and other accent pieces on the property made me fall in love with this garden.  To make it even better is the fact that Hidcote is  "all about the plants." 
Hidcote is the garden at which the concept of "garden rooms" was really started and developed, one of them being The Red Border, below.
I loved this combination of hot pinks and orange crocosmia. 
The Beech Allee is very impressive, appearing to go on for miles. 
The greenhouse shelters lots of beautiful tender plants. 
A view from inside a building into the entrance court also caught my eye.

After leaving Hidcote on a complete gardening "high," I don't think I was fully prepared for how incredible Kiftsgate Garden is.  Since it's directly across the street from Hidcote, it's easy to combine the two gardens in one day.  The difference, of course, is that Hidcote is a National Trust property, and Kiftsgate is privately owned and inhabited. 
To say that this garden is "wild" is an understatement.  In some areas it appears as though the four generations of women gardeners are on a quest to see just how large something can grow before it completely engulfs the house. 
Down an incredibly steep hill is the relatively new pool, which is a structural masterpiece in its own right.  The black lining of the pool makes it all the more impressive. The contemporary structure shown is the cabana.
Back up the hill at the main house, another distinctive blue is used in this garden, here on a door leading from one garden room into another. 
This reflecting pool is a fairly recent addition to the garden at Kiftsgate, replacing an unused tennis court.  You need to enlarge this photo to really get the full effect.  Each of those tall copper leaves is dripping water down into the pool. 
This final shot shows another angle of this beautifully controlled "out of control" garden.  This is definitely a pair of gardens that are worth an extra drive!


  1. Hi Tim, Thank You so much for sharing your garden tour with us. It is just so beautiful and green over there.

  2. Welcome to England, Tim!

    Hidcote & Kiftsgate are rather special and I am so pleased you made the effort to get to them. And, of course, they are in my 'neck of the woods' so you will have seen how beautiful the Cotswold countryside is. You were tantalisingly close to the secret valley!

    Have a great vacation and we look forward to hearing more of your thoughts and impressions of your time here.


  3. Your photography is fabulous.

  4. Hidcote was my favorite garden on my trip to England. We almost missed it as the area was having torrential rains. We decided to have lunch there (absolutely delicious) and after, the rain lifted enough for us to enjoy the garden all to ourselves.

  5. Hidcote would be on my must list. Did you get to Sissinghurst?

  6. Tim,
    Thank you for sharing your tour. Your pictures have brought back so many memories, it is like being in my youth and seeing all the gardens once again.

  7. Such a beautiful garden! great shots.

  8. Tim,

    you seem to have had the most packed itinery ever!

    You've probably seen more of England than I have and I lived all my life there up until 2003 ha, ha.