Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A wonderful trip to Hidcote Manor Gardens in Gloucestershire

Hidcote Manor is a delightful surprise, hidden down a series of twisting country lanes in the Cotswolds. I had the opportunity to pay these incredible gardens a visit last month and spend time in the many ‘rooms’ of this fabulous estate run by The National Trust, Europe’s largest conservation organization.

The gardens at Hidcote Manor were designed and developed by Maj. Lawrence Johnston, a wealthy and well educated American, scion of a Baltimore stock broking family, who became a naturalized British subject and fought with the British Army in the Boer and First World Wars. Johnston was an avid plant collector and horticulturalist who sponsored and participated in plant hunting expeditions to secure rare and exotic species for this truly unbelievable garden.

Maj. Johnston's mother, Gertrude Winthrop, bought the Hidcote estate for her son in 1907. During the 1920s and 30s, Johnston worked with 12 full time gardeners to design and plant the garden. He was advised by many of the top artists and garden designers of the day including Alfred Parsons and Gertrude Jekyll. Johnston traveled the world in his search for unusual plants, participating in plant collecting expeditions to the Swiss Alps, the Andes, South Africa, Kenya, Burma, the South of France, Formosa, the Maritime Alps and the Atlas Mountains. Johnston is known to have introduced more than 40 new plants to the United Kingdom. Many of them now bear his name.

Hope you will enjoy these recent photos and plan a trip the next time you find yourself in London. It is just a 2 hours drive from the city center.

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