We got some good exercise when we decided to just stroll over to Kiftsgate Gardens from Hidcote Garden not knowing what the parking situation would be at Kiftsgate. Well…they do have a nice parking area that is free for your information if you decide to visit but we had a goal to walk a lot in England and this day afforded a lot towards that goal.
The story of Kiftsgate is the story of three generations of women gardeners: Heather Muir, Diany Binny and Anne Chambers. Each in her unique way has contributed throughout almost a century to making Kiftsgate the world renowned garden that visitors and gardeners alike have grown to know and love.Heather Muir created the garden at Kiftsgate, which up until 1920 had consisted of a paved formal garden in front of the portico, with a field and wooded banks beyond. Heather was helped and inspired by her lifelong friend Lawrence Johnston of Hidcote Manor. She decided that the garden would develop organically as she was inspired, rather than planning everything on paper. This has given the garden a distinctly feminine feel, almost in direct contrast to the more masculine lines being employed by Johnston at Hidcote. By 1930 the steep banks were tackled and the steps to the lower garden were put in place, along with the delightful summerhouse taking advantage of the views to the west.
From the mid fifties Diany Binny continued to add to the garden by creating the semi-circular pool in the lower garden. She also commissioned two sculptures and began to open the garden on a regular basis.The white sunk garden was also redesigned by her to incorporate a small pool and a well head fountain. Diany was an important figure in the development of Kiftsgate by opening the garden to the public and maintaining the tradition of continuity.
One of Anne Chambers finest accomplishments is the addition of the new water garden that was once the tennis court. This area is now an oasis of calm, where fine white stepping stones give the illusion of floating over the black pool below, leading to a grass island at the centre. To the far end, a double row of gilded bronze philodendron leaves sway gently under a cascade of running water surrounded by a curtain of yew hedging.
Taking up half the space on one side of the Rose Border is Rosa filipes ‘Kiftsgate’. The vigour shown by this rose, which we claim to be the largest in England, produces huge growth each year and three trees have been smothered by its spreading habit. In early to mid July it is a remarkable sight when it is covered in panicles of white blooms and resembles a cascading waterfall amongst the trees.
The view is magnificent from the swimming pool lawn. In one direction the distant hills of Malvern can be seen beyond the Vale of Evesham whilst looking back up the Banks a fine view of the house can allow oneself to imagine being in a Mediterranean setting.
I took this next photo with Vee of A Haven for Vee in mind. Not as plush as yours were, Vee.
We had a few fast moving showers while we were at this garden but found good spots out of the rain to wait while the showers passed. There is a nice tea room available right on the grounds. You are never too far from a tea room in the Cotswolds.
All words in italics are from the Kiftsgate web page and not my own words.
Speaking of showers we have had a full day of showers here at this old house with some thunderstorms, too. Things in the bathroom renovation slowed down as we wait on the bathtub to be delivered. It was suppose to arrive today and the plumbers were all set to go but as in any project glitches happen. Tomorrow we should have a full house of worker bees…
What’s new in your neck of the woods?