I recently visited the beautiful gardens at Hidcote Manor in Gloucestershire, and there, to my surprise, I found a strange and unexpected little connection to my local area of west London…
Hidcote is a now a National Trust property, and its famous gardens are probably some of the most unusual and inspiring green spaces in the entire country. Created by the Anglophile American Lawrence Johnston in the early decades of the 20th century, the gardens are designed in the Arts and Crafts style and take the form of interlocking outdoor ‘rooms’, planted with a pleasing combination of the familiar and the exotic.
These magical gardens surround a beautiful 17th century manor house, built from that distinctively mellow golden honey-coloured Cotswold stone which glows gently in the late summer sunshine. Add to that views over the spectacular Vale of Evesham, and you get one of the loveliest places I think I have ever visited.
And I’m not alone in that opinion. The writer and gardener Vita Sackville-West, who went on to create her own famous gardens at Sissinghurst in Kent, was quite clearly blown away by her visit to Hidcote: