Last week I visited my niece who lives in the beautiful Cotswold countryside. It was a glorious sunny day, the first for sometime and so she suggested we visit nearby the garden of Bourton House. Surrounding an 18th Century house it is in a fine setting.
The garden gate is open through the 16th Century Tithe Barn.
Actinidia kolomikta clads the wall on the other side of the Barn; known as the painted vine I fail to give an explanation on how or why it produces such colouring; in a vain attempt to sound knowledgeable I comment on the fact that it appears only on the mature male plants.
An elegant gates draw us further into the main part of the garden,
where we turn immediately left and walk along the path parallel to the wall which is lined with fun shaped topiary.
The scent of lilac fills the air in the White garden,
and the last of the tulips are still looking stunning.
The white theme is carried on in the gravel which glares in the sunshine, and the imitation white flamingo cools his feet in the water.
Elegant trellis is the backdrop to the wide herbaceous borders; the shape of the top is reflected in the hedging and metal work throughout the garden.
Purple-leaved cow parsley anthriscus sylvestris grows daintily amongst the clumps of perennials yet to flower.
The secluded parterre nestles in behind the glasshouse,
which is bursting with tender plants ready for summer planting.
Across the neatly mown sward and behind terraced flower beds is the 18th century raised walk.
Where ivy clad seats allow you to look out on either the gently rolling pastures,
where cattle graze in the distance
or back towards the architectural delight of Bourton House.
Fastigiate beech fagus sylvatica Dawyck, reaches up to the sky along the boundary wall.
You might think this is a boat house but nowhere near water, slightly sunken and slatted it is in fact a home to a variety of shade loving plants:
In particular the exotic and medicinal types of Asian May Apple are loving it here; podophyllum pleiathum
and the glorious podophyllum ‘Kaleidoscope’.
It is afternoon and the intriguing knot garden is in dappled shade.
and an elegant oval pond is the centrepiece.
The stone exedra sited in the dapple shade at the edge of the lawn brings a slight air of antiquity. On the tree trunks behind the ivy is trimmed in a way which looks as if they are wearing boots.
Nobody normally wants ground elder but this variegation brightens an area under the trees.
On the roadside front of the house the topiary which looks as if it might have been whipped and piped twists around in a circular movement, the gardeners have just begun to clip it.
To the side of the house more box is clipped and shaped perfectly framing the scarlet tulips.
After taking tea outside the Barn and clutching bags of the most mouthwatering fudge,
we cross back over the road and walk through the specimen trees which were planted in the early nineties. The trail begins with not so much an angel of the north but perhaps a cherub of the Cotswolds!
A sunny day always adds to the delight of visiting a garden but there is real horticultural perfection here. When I asked the Head Gardener how long he had worked here he replied proudly ‘as man and boy’. Through several changes in ownership, it is a testament to his skill that the three acre garden provides such pleasure and having first opened on a single Sunday in 1987 for the National Garden Scheme it has been winning prestigious awards ever since. This year the garden at Bourton House opens for the NGS on Sunday 18th August 10 am – 5pm.