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Gardens


The Cotswolds has some of the finest gardens and arboreta in Great Britain. Aside from the cottage garden, it is the manor house garden that most typifies the Cotswolds.

Many gardens are beautiful throughout the year, but with the British seasons to contend with, gardens can boast the most spectacular seasonal displays all year round. We have selected some of the finest gardens in the Cotswolds to visit during each season.

Winter (December-February) – Painswick Rococo

For Painswick Rococo’s gardener Chris Hitchcock, late winter is always an exciting time of the year. The first flower to appear is the lovely snowdrop (Galanthus). After a bleak time of the year they dramatically cover the woodland in a carpet of white. For Chris and his team there is not a better way to remember that spring is only just round the corner.

Despite such a dramatic effect snowdrops are a remarkably easy plant to grow. Left to their own devices they spread naturally. We have photographs from the 1890’s showing them flowering just as well.

winter Snowdrop time is a very busy time for everyone. Thousands of visitors from all over the world, flock to the Garden to see the displays. The gardeners abandon our garden tools and help car parking and manning the admission desk.

Spring (March–May) – Mill Dene Garden

spring Mill Dene is the garden that Wendy Dare has created over many years and loves it dearly. It covers a little valley and surrounds an old Cotswold stone water-mill. There are sounds of water everywhere and signs of family gone and grandchildren present who are helping Wendy to change the garden yet again.

Spring is particularly good time to visit, as the colours are really sharp after the Winter. Mill Dene becomes a quintessentially English garden, with its cricket lawn and Pavilion, its herb garden and its views over the hills and the village church.

spring As a nice Japanese visitor wrote last year:
‘We were searching for the spirit of the Cotswolds, and found it at Mill Dene’.

Summer (June-August) – Hidcote Manor Garden

summer Early summer is the busiest and most enjoyable time for Glyn Jones and his team at The National Trust - Hidcote Manor Garden, as they see months of planning come to life.  The roses turn into full bloom. Visitors flock to join in with the Rose Walks through the old scented rose garden.

Then come the tender perennials blooming into full glory during the middle of the summer months, telling the gardeners that autumn is just round the corner.

summer A large team of gardeners, apprentices and volunteers, lovingly look after the magnificent roses, and all of the wildlife that comes with it. Hidcote Manor Garden has 74 different species of bird that flock to the garden, and have helped the birds make themselves at home by building bird boxes high up in the trees.

Autumn (September-November) – Westonbirt Arboretum

autumn Every year, thousands of visitors make their way to Westonbirt Arboretum in the autumn to experience one of nature’s most dramatic seasonal displays; a climax of colour before the winter sets in.

For Simon Toomer and his team, who have worked at the arboretum for many years, part of the fascination is the fact that every year is a little bit different from the last. Weather conditions through the summer and right up to early autumn can influence the time and rate of leaf colouring and you can never guess which trees will provide the year’s ‘star turn’.

autumn The arrival of the wave of visitors provides its own excitement. Many travel from far and wide and have been coming for decades on this annual pilgrimage; seeking out colour hotspots like Acer Glade, Maple Loop or their own particular favourite retreat.

If you would like more information about Cotswold Gardens please visit http://www.cotswolds.com/site/things-to-do/attractions/gardens.
To request a Gardens guide please email Cotswolds@gloucestershire.gov.uk