U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8b. Sunset climate zone 5

Hidcote Manor Garden: May 2015

After visiting Lawrence Johnston's Jardin Serre de la Madone outside Menton, France (post is HERE), I knew that I must see his other garden, Hidcote Manor Garden in England. I did it recently, on May 12th 2015.
As it became usual for my blog, there are more pictures than words in my posts, and you know the reason - life is bigger than blogging, especially now, in May, when your own garden calls, and in my case when my two sons are almost ready to leave the nest, and you want to spend as much time with them as possible.
National Trust's Hidcote Manor Garden  information  is here.

I won't retell the history of Hidcote Manor Garden, and I am avoiding the discussion of how much the garden that we see today is actually the garden Major Johnston had in mind. I am also refraining from comparing privately owned and run-by-trusts gardens.
During my visit, I just tried to satisfy my curiosity about this famous garden, enjoy it, learn lessons  and get some ideas for my own garden.

 It's true that May is a good month for a visit. There were several tour buses, but I always could catch a moment when I was alone in one of the garden rooms.
The route. I rode a train from Paddington station in London to Honeybourne, then took a taxi to the garden (as recommended online, I reserved it in advance). I did the way back from the Garden to Honeybourne by foot, but I don't recommend it to you - it's 4,8 miles.
The pictures are not in any particular order, although I tried to follow room after room. It wasn't always possible, since I'd move to another room if I saw nobody there.


Several excerpts I used are from the book which I found last year at the estate sale, The National Trust Guide to England, Wales, and Northern Ireland (1984).
"The essence of Hidcote is the combination of formal design with seemingly haphazard or informal planting which is the archetype of a whole style of 20-century gardens.
It is the highly sophisticated creation of an expert plantsman with an architect's ability to create a structure of interesting spaces; likewise, it has been an inspiration to modern gardeners, exerting in our time a profound influence.
Hidcote may be said to have been founded on the tenets of Gertrude Jekyll but it is also based on the traditional cottage garden, where plants of interest and beauty have been grown through several centuries little affected by changing fashions in grander places."

"Apart from the pleasant 17th- century house, a few walls, a cedar and a clump of big beeches, there was nothing at Hidcote when Major Lawrence Johnston acquired it.
The garden was created from 1905 onward. Though covering eleven acres, and high on the Coltswolds, it is sheltered from cold winds.
The soil, mainly lime, has acid pockets, as is common in the district, and this acidity was increased by importing suitable soil and rotted sawdust."

Old Garden

I love the plants supports that I find in English gardens. 
They are made from natural materials and blend wonderfully with plants.

Maple Garden

White Garden wasn't in its best shape.

The Circle

I don't know about other months, but in May, the Red Borders with tulips and crimson foliage were looking good. I read that the performers of hot months include dahlia, salvia (microphylla, elegans, fulgens), canna (indica, King Humbert), verbena Lawrence Johnston, cordyline.


Winter Border

Stilt Garden  which, they say, reflects Lawrence Johnston's love to France

Alpine Terrace

Pillar Garden. Yews

Upper Stream Garden, Lower Stream Garden and Central Stream Garden 
got me overwhelmed, in a good sense.  If to choose one word to describe them, it probably will be lushness.

Fuchsia garden

"Wall of hedges - the latter of many kinds, one being a mixture or 'tapestry' hedge - enclose numerous separate gardens, each one different in design from the next, each planted with a careful selection of shrubs and plants to provide flower from spring to autumn, and each with a distinctive colour scheme.
The main vista moves from quiet colours by the house, enters a rondpoint of lilacs and hellebores, then passes between borders of reddish-tinted and copper foliage up steps to a pair of gazebos, and on, flanked by hornbeam hedges on stems and by beds of grasses, to the great gates which give a view of the open countryside.
A series of such changes and surprises is provided throughout the garden, not the least being the change from the formal enclosures near the house to the informal stream garden, which has its own colour schemes, and so up slopes to the 'Westonbirt' area, also entirely informal."
( The Nationsl Trust Guide to England, Wales,  and Nothern Ireland (1984).

Long Walk between the hedges of hornbeam toward the horizon

I had my snack on this bench. Nobody was around, and the views of countryside could take my breath away.

Bathing pool

Italian Shelter

Poppy Garden

'Plant only the best forms of any plant' (Lawrence Johnston)

Mrs. Winthrop's Garden was created with a Mediterranean theme.

Lawrence Johnston and Frank Adams in Mrs. Winthrop's garden. 1927.
Image from  National trust website
The gardener is buried next to his mother in Mickleton, a village not far from Hidcote Manor Garden..
I passed Mickleton  on my way to the train station, but unfortunately wasn't able to stop this time.

Pine Garden and Lily Pond

Plant House

Beech Allee

The following are random pictures from different parts of the garden

What I liked the most about the garden and what I'd love to use in my own garden: lush abundant borders, close planting (no place for weeds!), using ordinary, familiar plants in striking color combinations, spaces where an eye can relax after observing overfull areas, using evergreens in borders, mixing shrubs with perennials and using topiary.
Last year, I visited Sissinghurst. This year, it was Hidcote.
Which one did I like more?
Let's not compare....
I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

***Copyright 2015 TatyanaS


  1. Beautiful, I haven't been to Hidcote in May. I think I need to make a plan to.

  2. AnonymousMay 20, 2015

    Such a beautiful post with so many wonderful, wonderful pictures of one of my favourite gardens in the whole world! Thankyou for sharing :-) Matt

  3. To see this dream garden through your eyes was a treat....even the countryside was heavenly! I will be back to look these over again and again....the type of garden I always wanted to achieve...

  4. AnonymousMay 20, 2015

    Such a beautiful post with so many wonderful, wonderful pictures of one of my favourite gardens in the whole world! Thankyou for sharing :-) Matt

  5. Thank you Tatyana!

  6. The sheer abundance of the plant material must have been a gardener's heaven for you. I love the feeling of separation of must have been a joy to walk through there.


  7. Oh my goodness, what a garden and what fantastic pictures you made! I realy spent a lovely time at this place. Hope you don't mind I've forgotten my hat!
    All my best and a wunderful time

  8. Beautiful photography Tatyana!

  9. Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos. We did not get to Hidcote when we were in the UK, though we did see Sissinghurst and Great Dixter. Now I feel like I've been to Hidcote also.

  10. Oh My God, that is indeed a very spectacular garden, can't imagine the maintenance hours poured into it. And your photos are spectacular too, that neutralized the feeling of excessiveness when downloading too many photos. I have admired your photos for years since we started this blogging craze, haha. Am amazed at how you made your site with large photos, and even many photos do not clog the process. Never mind, i just admire your work and fotos!

  11. Love the courtyard ... and the archways ... the Trilliums ... the Tulips! Looks like you visited during the most beautiful time of year. Next time I go to the UK, I hope I can see more gardens. Kew was spectacular, but we only saw one little corner. Thanks for sharing all this beauty!

  12. Magical and charming; your photos are a book unto themselves, transporting us to an enchanted land! How I would love to see this garden in person; one day visit would not be enough!

  13. Simply amazing. What a treat to visit it through your pictures. I looks at it all and shake my head wondering how much upkeep it takes these days to keep it all looking and growing so marvelous. That wisteria vine alone must have seen so much history there through the years. LOL! Oh how will you get along with the twins out in the world. :) They grow up so fast. In anser to your offering of some columbine seeds.. I would be delighted to have some from your garden. Thank the kind offer. Have a lovely weekend.

  14. Thank you for the wonderful tour of this special place

  15. Picture perfect of your wonderful tour Tatyana, even the sheep got in on the act.

  16. This is an incredible garden, overwhelming in it's beauty. I couldn't look at it all in one sitting it was so rich. Even the surrounding countryside is gorgeous. So many different styles all in one garden. Thank you so much for sharing!

  17. Wowza! What a treat to see this--thank you so much.

  18. Thank for sharing all the wonderful photos!

  19. What fabulous photos of a garden I thought I knew well but now realise that there are lots of corners that I have missed. I'm lucky enough to garden for my living and work in the midst of the glorious Cotswold countryside - not that far from Hidcote. Did you manage to visit Kiftsgate Gardens which is within walking distance from Hidcote? Very different in style but equally beautiful. I've only just discovered your blog - how glad I am! I look forward to exploring more of your writing and photos.


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