Yesterday we went to The Gloucester Car Show, which is held at Highnam Court. This was a smashing event and you can read about it here. A very pleasant bonus we got when we went was access to the gardens at Highnam Court which we thought were beautiful. Click on the photo above for a slideshow of the gardens and if you get the chance pay them a visit. You wont be disappointed.
A Brief History
Highnam Court was built in 1658 after the original house was seriously damaged in the Civil War. It is one of the few houses built during the Commonwealth period. The design of the houses is linked to Ernest Carter who was a pupil of Inigo Jones.
The Highnam Estate was bought in 1838 by Thomas Gambier Parry, who was an accomplished artist, musician and art collector. This talented painter is also responsible for the magnificent frescoes in Highnam Church. He started to layout his garden in 1840, and by 1874 it rivalled any in the UK. Unfortunately since the turn of the last century almost nothing had been done in the gardens. Consequently when the process of restoration started in 1994 the gardens were totally overgrown.
During the last 18 years, since Roger Head has been the owner, the gardens have been totally and lovingly restored to their former glory, with many new additions being made to compliment and enhance the original design.
The gardens surround several large lakes, with walkways around them. They are bordered by beds planted with thousands of plants to give colour and interest in all seasons. Whilst many of the plantings are still young and getting established there is nonetheless much to see.
In Spring there are thousands of daffodils throughout the grounds, planted together with other spring bulbs to give a tremendous show. There are many different sections including the Broad Walk and rose tunnel, a Knot Garden, a Wisteria walk and much more. A large oval Rose Garden has been planted too with over 2000 roses and 60,000 Spring Flowering Bulbs.
I wont profess to being an expert on British Gardens but I cannot recall seeing such a grandiose garden restoration being undertaken to result in such a powerful and satisfying effect. Some might consider it showy, perhaps even lacking subtlety – the bridges crossing the lakes and streams are certainly overtly Monet like – but if that is the case then clearly I like showy. Quite simply, this is one of the best gardens I have enjoyed in a long while and I am sure I will be back soon.