Thursday, 18 April 2019

Meeting up with an old Friend - Kiftsgate Court Gardens

Hi there everyone 😀

Earlier this week I shared the morning that I spent with an old friend at Hidcote Manor Gardens with you. We moved on to spend the afternoon at another garden ... Kiftsgate Court ... which we'd spotted when we visited Hidcote the last time ... it is literally just a stone's throw away.

The garden opened for the season on 1 April and can be visited for the afternoon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays during April, before moving to opening from Saturday to Wednesday over the summer months.

It had the added bonus of being a garden that could be visited using the Gardeners' World 2 for 1 card, so it cost us just £9 to visit for the both of us. Never having visited before, neither of us had any idea what to expect, but we both ended up being very pleasantly surprised.

We both drove from Hidcote, though you could really walk, and it literally was just down the road. We were expecting to pull straight into a car park, but there is a fairly long drive which takes you a fair way away from the main road before dropping you into the car park in front of another beautiful honey stoned building, where a very friendly lady was waiting to check us in and tell us a bit about the garden.

Our ticket had a little map on the back, which gave us a good idea the best route to take round the garden to make sure we didn't miss anything. This can be found on the garden website if you want to see it in full multi-colour.

After a quick visit to the facilities in the courtyard we were on our way.

The first thing that caught our eye, on the edge of the bluebell wood were the drifts of anemones and fritilleries ...
We didn't want to miss anything and not really knowing the layout of the garden we opted for following the little map pretty much in the order it was laid out.

We wandered round the back of the buildings to the four squares, where we got a real sense of how high up the garden was. There was definitely going to be a view to be had looking out over the valley at some point, but for now we were happy to be mooching about in the sunshine taking in what the garden had to reveal to us.

From the Four Squares we made our way around the side of the building to the sunken garden ...
... which was a real treat ...
We were both surprised at how well the blue metal garden furniture worked as it wasn't a colour that either of us would have thought would have looked so right ...
We also both really liked the fact that so many of the plants were labelled so we knew what we were looking at. We saw a fair few that neither of us had come across before including this ... which we could not find a label for, but Martin managed to find it online after I got home and confirmed it as a trillium kurabayashi when back home ...
From the sunken garden we wandered through the rose borders, where not much is happening at the moment but it was lovely to see how all of the roses were supported on all kinds of makeshift metal supports. I'm sure these borders will look amazing in June ... there may just be the need for a re-visit.

Passing through the wild garden we could also see that the allium were going to be amazing but for today, there was just lots of green.

We carried on through the orchard, where the blossom is just starting to make an appearance ... again just a little too early to see the camassia in bloom. We passed some other visitors on the way who said that it was definitely worth climbing the wooden stairs to the top, which of course we did ...
It was definitely a bit of a 'wow' moment. I don't know what we'd been expecting, but it certainly hadn't been this. I guess that is the joy of visiting a garden for the first time. However many times we visit again, we will never quite have that same feeling the next time we see this view.

We couldn't not walk up to the sculpture to see it close up. From a distance it looked a bit like a feather ...
Up close it is just as spectacular. It's three dimensional with some very intricate patterns in the metalwork. I think the blue sky definitely helps, but we were both very impressed.

Retracing out steps back up to the mound we could see the tops of the leaves of the water fountain and from the map we decided the water garden was definitely our next stop.

The water garden was another total surprise. It was so formal, compared the rest of the garden that we had seen so far ... not what we expected at all ...
We didn't have to wait long for the fountain to start and watched patiently whilst the cascade worked its way along all of the leaves, waiting until it had reached the very last one before having a walk around the pool, which looked very dark and deep ...
Of course we had to cross the steps into the centre ...
... where I captured what had to be my favourite shot of the day ...
Having sat for a while and watched the fountains for a couple of cycles it was time to move on and along the borders to the steps which would take us down to the lower part of the garden ...
... and this is where we found that view we'd been hoping for. It was stunning ...

Looking back across the pool was pretty decent too ...
Looking back towards the top of the garden you can see the banking on the left which has made planting and access to the steep slopes possible ...
We started to make our way back up the steps and pathways to the top of the garden, stopping to take in the view, and to get my breath back, on the way ...
We passed paths seeming to lead off into secret hideaways ...
... but carried on to the path that took us through the bluebell wood, where we found a very nicely located bench and had a sit in the sunshine just chatting and taking in the view ...
By now time was getting on a bit so we made our way back to where we'd begun ... the fritillaries and the anemones ...
... and there was just one last place left to visit ...
Having visited the garden and written this post I've had a look at the history of the garden on its website and was interested, but not that surprised, to find that when the garden was created, 100 years ago, Heather Muir, who created the garden, was helped and inspired by her lifelong friend Lawrence Johnson of Hidcote Manor.

You can see the similarities in the way that the garden is laid out in such a way that it doesn't reveal itself to you all at once ... you need to go looking. The website says that Heather wanted the garden to develop organically, rather than being totally planned out on paper. This has most definitely led to the garden having a more 'feminine' and relaxed feel, with a lot softer edges than we had found at Hidcote.

We both loved it and I'm sure I will definitely be visiting again. I want to see the roses in bloom. If you're in the area it's definitely worth calling in 😀

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1 comment:

Thanks for taking time to comment on my blog. I love to hear what people think about what Martin and I have been up to.