We saved a couple of great gardens for our last full day in England, one of which is Hestercombe, in Taunton. It is a grand estate which has seen some better days, but is now into its 11th year of a MAJOR restoration, and the results so far are nothing short of extraordinary! Just as we started our stroll around the property, we were greeted by fleabane, one of my new favorite flowers, spilling over a beautiful old staircase. From that point, I knew I would love Hestercombe.
The photo below is the first glimpse of the Edwardian garden, designed by Lutyens with plantings designed by Gertrude Jekyll. This little vignette is silver upon blue, upon white, upon blue.......just stunning!
Here is a wide view of this garden, which Frank immediately decided was his favorite of all we had visited. This was my first visit to a garden actually done by Lutyens and Jekyll, and it was clear why the pair has the reputation they still possess long after their deaths. It is very hard to put one's finger upon what makes it such a special garden, but it just is. The contrast between the precise architecture and the exuberant planting is just overwhelming!
Here is a closeup of the blood red gladiola bed edged with bergenia.
The swan, below, was a complete ham, and seemed to love having his photo taken.
A Lutyens bench, designed and placed by Lutyens himself.
Decorative finials atop the gates to the Dutch garden.
An almost hidden gate which leads up a rustic staircase to the Edwardian garden from a lower level.
A wall fountain which leads into a rill that cuts through the Edwardian garden. Again, the precision is just breathtaking in what initally appears simple
A penstemon that is now on my "most wanted list".
This is definitely a garden worth visiting, and it's also worth visiting the website to read more about the history and restoration http://www.hestercombe.com/
.....I've shown only a tiny portion of the gardens at Hestercombe.