A Bird’s Eye View & A Cotswold Country Garden

My Dad has been down, from Nottingham, to stay with us for a couple of days. 

We are fortunate to live in an area that has much to commend it, both in terms of natural beauty and places of interest to visit. To be honest, whilst being well-travelled within the UK  and overseas, we are somewhat guilty of failing to take full advantage of what we have on our own doorstep. Having people to stay provides an opportunity to rectify that situation.

Dad has always been keen on birds (the feathered variety!) so I took him for a leisurely drive along the Wye Valley to Symonds Yat. From atop Yat Rock we were able to peer down on the looping river below and use the RSPB telescopes to watch the peregrine falcons on the adjacent  rock face.   

I did come out in a cold sweat when we met a  school party in the car park, but I soon recovered!

Yesterday we drove out to the Cotswolds and the delightful Hidcote Manor Gardens. Hidcote is one of England’s great gardens but it must have been over 15 years since I had last visited!    

Hidcote, a National Trust property, designed and created by Lawrence Johnston (the ‘Quiet American Gardener’) in the Arts & Crafts style, is layed out in a series of ‘garden rooms’. Each has its own distinctive character and there are many unusual species. I’m not a plant buff but it wasn’t difficult to appreciate the vibrantly coloured herbaceous borders.

Lawrence Johnston, born in Paris to a wealthy American stockbroker family, came to England to study at Cambridge University. Following his graduation, he became a naturalised Englishman and joined the British Army, serving in the Second Boer War and World War I,  reaching the rank of Major.

In 1907, Johnston and his mother purchased Hidcote and for 40 years he worked on developing the wonderful gardens that we say today. An enthusiastic plant collector, he sponsored and undertook several expeditions in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America to bring back rare specimens. In 1948 Hidcote was bequeathed to the National Trust and he moved to France.

2 Responses

  1. Sounds lovely, Dad! Alright for some, hey! Better to be out in the sun than sweltering at a desk, I assure you. Saying that, work has been fairly slow this week, so I’m hoping to make a swift getaway to Oxford tonight to see Nic. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow – all this sight seeing must be wearing you out!! x

    • You must have time on your hands if you’re reading my blog!

      Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow.

      What do you think about the planned referendum? I look forward to hearing your views.

      I’m not sure what the point is now because the Lib Dems have lost their political identity!

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