Return To Hidcote Manor

078Having some relatives to stay was the just the excuse we had been looking for to go back to Hidcote. Still my favourite, and possibly the nation’s favourite National Trust garden. Relaxed and informal with good plant sales, lovely cafe, plenty of parking and 10 acres of varied, interesting and well maintained gardens.016

The red border was closed for grass maintenance and watering during our visit which was a shame but just catching a glimpse of those Dahlia ‘Arabian Night’, and red salvias backed by the dark Physocarpus, Sambucus nigra and Cotinus was enough.008

The burgeoning borders now spilling over the paths were a real treat to the senses and this Geranium psilostemon (or is it Anne Folkard – I can never tell the difference!) in particular was impressive.028

This yellow and blue ‘room’ with acid green Euphorbias and frothy Alchemilla mollis, Thalictrum flavum glaucum and what appear to be Helianthus yet to come are balanced perfectly by blue salvias, nepeta and veronicas.031

It was a perfect day to visit Hidcote. The warm sunshine made everything glow and sparkle, the army of gardeners and volunteers conspicuously absent and yet obviously working away in the background, and some of the finest gardens in England. Well worth the annual fee to belong to the National Trust just to be able to visit three or four times a year. Inspirational, motivational and educational. A treat for any gardener.

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4 thoughts on “Return To Hidcote Manor

  1. I went to Hidcote last week, but I found Kiftsgate just across the road, a nicer garden with a wider range of plants. Disappointingly I find that the private owned gardens are better kept than the national ones, but perhaps I am too hard to please.

  2. I had to smile when you said that the red borders were closed. They have been closed more often than not on my several visits. For me, timing is paramount in enjoying a garden. Two weeks either way can make a huge difference. I find Hidcote to be a real enigma. It is very much a curate’s egg. Some parts are excellent, others inexplicably poor. For example, a few years ago (August 2011 from memory) the garden by the Plant House was breathtaking and original. On my next visit, two years later in early September, they had replaced this with something much more mundane. I usually visit in August or the first few days of September – for some reason it never looks right earlier in the season. Often the red borders look tired and drooping, but last time they were the best I have seen them. The Pillar Garden (one of my favourite parts and reliably well-maintained) was off-limits. Always much of the garden seems neglected and poorly-maintained, with a few parts immaculate, but it is impossible to predict which parts. I find this aspect really puzzling. The large walled garden (old garden?) has some interesting plants and an exciting “hidden secrets” atmosphere but is always just a bit too untidy. If they did more deadheading, we would get a better display from many of the plants.,e.g. Dahlias.
    I agree with the previous commentator that the private gardens tend to be better kept – I think Kiftsgate certainly beats Hidcote in this respect. Snowshill Manor (National Trust) garden was a disappointment to me (August 2011).

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