20th-century garden comprised of outdoor 'rooms' each with its own unique character
Hidcote Manor Garden is the result of a life’s work by one man, the self-taught gardener, Lawrence Johnston. Johnston, who was badly wounded in the First World War, came to Hidcote Manor after his mother bought it in 1907 and spent the next 41 years creating his famous and influential “garden of rooms.”
He designed the garden in small “rooms” of smaller gardens, each one with its own distinct theme or character, in order to show a range of plants and gardening styles. Each “room” is separated from its neighbour by small hedges comprised of yew, holly or beech, which also provide shelter for the plants in the exposed garden.
Johnston’s style of planting in the gardens was influenced by the “Arts and Crafts Movement” of the second half of the nineteenth century; a movement devoted to the importance of craftsmanship in an era of industrialisation and mass production. There is, therefore, a feel of the English cottage garden about some of the “rooms”, whereas others are more exotic and profuse in their planting. There are some excellent examples of topiary work in the garden, as well as areas of water and paving, to provide contrast to the more colourful plants.
Lawrence Johnston created an extremely influential garden for twentieth-century gardeners in Hidcote Manor Garden; not least because he introduced over forty new species of plant to cultivation in the UK from his many plant-hunting expeditions in Africa, Europe and other continents. The garden changes beautifully with the seasons with the wide range of plants it contains. The Manor Garden also overlooks the Vale of Evesham, offering stunning countryside views, and making the gardens a wonderful place to visit year-round.