June 30-July 11, 2020, escorted by Susan Mulvihill

Photo courtesy of Bourton House Gardens

This 10-day tour visits the most beautiful gardens of central England including icons such as Highgrove House,
Hampton Court Palace and Beth Chatto. The itinerary covers a variety of garden styles, stately homes, and castles, as
well as drives through the beautiful English countryside. Accommodation throughout is in well-appointed 4* hotels with
character. Entrances to the gardens are included and where possible garden tours or introductory talks are arranged.
The tour ends in London with admission to the famous Hampton Court Flower Show as a highlight.

Bourton House Garden: It received the Historic Houses Garden of the Year award in 2006. This 3-acre garden includes a box-edged parterre, small potager (kitchen garden), topiary, knot garden, ponds and fountains that are fed by Cotswold springs, herbaceous borders, a 16-century tithe barn, and glasshouse.

Highgrove Garden: This has been the home of Prince Charles since 1980. We won’t see the house but the gardens are magnificent! It includes the kitchen garden, the carpet garden, the pool garden, the stumpery, cottage garden, sundial garden, thyme walk, and wildflower meadow. Prince Charles has been a champion of the environment and saving energy, so there should be many opportunities for us to learn how they accomplish this in the garden. The tour will be guided and followed by lunch there. NOTE: no photos of the garden are allowed for security reasons but there are probably opportunities to purchase items in the gift shop that show the beautiful gardens.

Abbey House Gardens: (note: photo directly above courtesy of Abbey House Gardens) This 5-acre garden is located in Malmesbury, one of England’s oldest boroughs. There are over 2,000 different roses (one of the largest collections in the U.K.). There is the 12th-century abbey which used to have a spire taller than Salisbury Cathedral. The owners purchased the property in 1994 and started working on the garden in 1996. We’ll see yew hedges, garden rooms, and lovely flower beds.

Barnsley House: This will be a really special visit because this is the former home of the late Rosemary Verey, a well-known garden designer, and author. She began creating the 4-acre garden in 1961, which surrounds their 17th-century home. Following Verey’s death in 2001, the house has become a hotel and restaurant. The garden is famous for its Laburnum walk (golden chain tree) planted with wisteria and alliums, and there is a wonderful kitchen garden. Verey had the ability to make small spaces appear much larger, so I think we’ll take away some wonderful ideas to use in our own gardens.

Photo courtesy of Sudeley Castle

Sudeley Castle: The castle and tithe barn date from the 15th century. The castle was restored in the 19th century, at which time the gardens were created. They include the Queen’s Garden (a collection of old English roses), yew hedges, topiary, herbaceous borders, a Victorian kitchen garden and a wildflower walk. I was delighted to learn they follow organic practices in the gardens. The Elizabethan knot garden was created in 1995 and designed from the pattern on a dress worn by Queen Elizabeth I.

Kiftsgate Court Garden: The garden was created and has been maintained by three generations of lady gardeners from the same family: Heather Muir designed the garden in 1921, added flower borders and had an especially good eye for color; her daughter, Diany Binney, added pools to the garden; and Diany’s daughter, Anne Chambers, has planted tender plants in a sheltered area of the garden and added the Millennium water garden.

Packwood House: This National Trust property is a restored Tudor house, park, and garden. It is known for its topiary, kitchen garden, memorial orchard (planted in memory of loved ones), and wildflower meadows.

Baddesley Clinton: Also a National Trust property, Baddesley Clinton is a 500-year-old moated house that has a history of being an artist’s colony and a place for the persecuted Catholics to find shelter. There is a formal walled garden, vegetable garden, fish ponds, and a nature walk.

Trentham Gardens: This is an impressive, beautiful series of gardens that include a huge planting of David Austin roses. The gardens have recently been restored and have been touted as “the garden makeover of the decade.” They include the Italian Garden which dates back to the 1800s, upper flower garden, the flower labyrinth which was designed by Piet Oudolf from the Netherlands, and the show gardens that contain the sensory garden, secret garden, and potager garden. They even have a shopping village!

Wollerton Old Hall: Thanks to Cosetta, even though this isn’t a day that the garden is open to the public, they will open it just for us AND the head gardener will give us a private tour! If you recognize the name of Wollerton Old Hall, it might be because it’s also the name of a David Austin rose. The 4-acre garden has been designed and developed by Lesley and John Jenkins, starting in 1984. Their planting style is described as “controlled exuberance” which is very appealing! Wollerton Old Hall dates from the 16th century. Areas of the garden include the yew walk, rose and sundial garden, main herbaceous border, shade garden, orchard garden, and salad garden.

Winterbourne House and Gardens: This Edwardian house and garden includes the University of Birmingham’s Botanic Garden. The 7-acre garden has over 6,000 plant species.

Hyde Hall: We are going to have a day excursion to Essex, which is northeast of London, to visit two wonderful gardens. Hyde Hall is the first. It’s a Royal Horticultural Society partner garden that is known for its eclectic mix of both traditional and modern styles. This includes the dry garden with all sorts of drought-resistant plants, hilltop garden filled with roses and herbaceous plants, Australia and New Zealand garden, Queen Mother’s garden, woodland garden, and vegetable garden.

Beth Chatto’s Garden: Sadly, Beth Chatto passed away last year but is well-known as a garden designer and author. This garden is very special, is on 7 acres and has been described as “a garden for plant lovers.” She strongly believed in the “right plant for the right place” mantra. The main areas of the gardens are the gravel garden (former parking lot, non-irrigated, featuring drought-tolerant plants), scree garden, water garden, woodland garden and reservoir garden.

Hampton Court Garden Festival (formerly known as the Hampton Court Flower Show): This is the largest flower show in the world, put on by the Royal Horticultural Society. The event is held each July on the grounds of the beautiful Hampton Court Palace. There will be the floral marquis, display and artist’s gardens, vendors, food options and more. It’s similar to the Chelsea Flower Show but, because of the setting, there will be much more elbow room!

We will also spend time in one of the Cotswold villages, either Moreton-in-Marsh or Stow-on-the-Wold at about the midway point of the trip.
On the final full day, travelers will have the option of a 3-hour panoramic city tour of London and time on their own OR a full day on their own in London.

To see the full itinerary click here.

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