Saturday, 22 July 2017

Hestercombe Gardens

Hestercombe has a unique combination of three centuries of garden design: Coplestone Warre Bampfylde’s Georgian landscape garden, the Victorian terrace and shrubbery and the stunning Edwardian garden design by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll.
We started looking round the landscape garden, set in 50 acres, it seemed varied and quite extensive, with many few features to draw the visitor onwards round the paths linking the features.
As you can see there's quite a difference in levels:
Above the Rustic seat seen from above, and below The Gothic Alcove
Below The Witch House rediscovered in 1999 by a team of archaeologists
On the walls inside, you can see a witch on a broom, an owl and a cat and a spotted snake
Here's The Mausoleum, restored in 1997, originally built in the 1750.
The Landscape Garden is well constructed with many more features, like the Great Cascade, that I haven't mentioned, and lovely for an interesting walk, but I loved the Dutch garden, seen below, it's part of the Formal Garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edward Lutyens between 1904-1908. It's apparently been restored to the way it was first conceived by the pair with their planting schemes.
Here's a bit of detail in the stonework near the steps down to the Orangery, a building created by Lutyens in his classical style

From the Victorian Terrace in front of the Orangery, you can look over the most splendid part of their garden, I had several attempts at getting a good photograph
On either side of the formal garden are beautifully restored Rills
with water spouts at the top
Along the whole width of the Formal Garden is a Pergola providing a semi transparent boundary enclosing the garden, yet allowing it to remain linked to the surrounding countryside
At each end of the Pergola, windows known as l'oeil de boeuf, create focal points that pierce the wall and give tantalising views of the countryside beyond.
The pillars of the Pergola have beautifully trained vines, climbing roses and clematis winding around them.
Looking at the art exhibition afterwards inside the house, I took more photos of the fantastically laid out garden. This might be the best one I took.
Hestercombe Gardens have a well deserved reputation for excellence, the cafe and plant sales were also very good.

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