Like all of the celebrated gardens in the UK, Lockdown has had an effect on their care and maintenance programme. With few volunteers to help alongside the gardeners and no visitors to admire them, the gardens aren’t quite up to their usual standard. Worse still for organisations like the National Trust they’ve experienced a huge drop in income.
We belong to the National Trust and during the periods between Lockdowns we went to The Vyne twice, also The Courts Garden,and Stourhead and other places not owned by the National Trust. This year so far we’ve enjoyed the snowdrops at Newark Park and had a wonderful time with our daughter, husband and grandchildren at The Vyne celebrating my husband’s birthday with an al-fresco picnic.
We decided to go to Hidcote as we hadn’t been for a few years and it’s one of our favourite gardens. A great place for taking pictures too. It had been a Bank Holiday that weekend and true to form on the Monday the weather was awful – cold, blustery and wet! No wonder the Hidcote gardens looked a little bedraggled in places when we visited the next day but the gardeners were out there tidying up. It still looked lovely as you can see from the pictures. How they get the lawn to look that good I don’t know although mostly they were pretty sodden after all the rain and were cordoned off
So let me take you on a tour …
I’d like to say that it was a warm, sunny May day but actually it was breezy and cold although the sun did come out from time to time. To warm ourselves up we headed back to ‘Mrs Winthrop’s Cafe, where we bought a warm drink and found a seat back round by the Italian Shelter. It’s just to the side of what was the Bathing Pool and is a wooden, thatched structure. It’s a strange building and on the back wall has two watercolour paintings. I suppose in days gone by the owners and their guests would sit in there sheltering from the sun and looking through to the Bathing Pool or maybe the croquet set was stored in there? If it was used as a changing room it would have been very draughty!
Spurred on by the sun coming-out, although it soon disappeared again we walked out to the perimeter of the gardens through an area called ‘The Wilderness’. It’s a little wild and full of bluebells at this time of year. From the edge of the garden there’s a fine viewpoint across the hills. I also like the view of the ‘Long Walk’ looking through the wrought iron gates.
We then walked round to ‘Rock Bank’ to look at the view across to the Malverns. The lambs were having a great time playing in the corner of the field where there was a pile of branches.
Then we followed the winding pathway along the stream with lots of large Calla Lilies growing alongside it and headed back to what’s called the Stilt Garden. It has two splendid gazebos either side of the steps at the top end.
From here we walked across to the Kitchen Garden and the Plant House. We paused to look for newts in the Lily Pond and were delighted to spot one. The Plant House is closed at the moment but I managed to take a picture through one of the windows. I particularly liked the potting shed with its array of terracotta pots and display of dried grasses. And here vying for attention by one of the benches was yet another tame robin happy to pose for a picture.
Once we’d wandered around the kitchen garden we felt we’d covered most of the garden. I bought a plant from the well-stocked Plant Centre and a few things from the shop and then it was time to head to the nearby village of Mickelton for a pub lunch at The Kings Arms. – Highly recommend it. We’ll look forward to going back to Hidcote as it’s gardens are delightful throughout the whole year.