Garden inspiration


Garden to visit – Badminton House

The Gardens at Badminton House

One of the joys of gardening is that there is always more to learn. Finding good new ideas in the garden of a country house is one of the best ways to do this. The gardens at Badminton house are not only a pleasure to experience but a wonderful source of inspiration.

In the last decades of the seventeenth century, Mary Somerset, the first Duchess of Beaufort, actively collected, identified, and classified thousands of plants from around the world and created at Badminton, one of the most splendid late 17th Century gardens in England.

One thing that is certain about gardens is they never stand still and over the years the original garden layout has all but disappeared. Nevertheless, there is a wealth of variety to explore in the current gardens, with the balance of clever design and plantsmanship recalling the tradition of Badminton’s celebrated past.

The current Duke and Duchess of Beaufort now open the gardens once a year to the general public, a wonderful opportunity to admire the glorious displays of English roses. For a plant lover, there is much to see.

Planting in the Gardens of Badminton House

To the east of the main house are the formal beds, designed in 1984 by Russell Page.

Simple, elegant clipped box-hedged parterres lead on to clipped yew hedges, which frame the vista to the park. The garden is heady with  scent of roses and companion planting of tulips, campanulas, penstemons, geraniums, phlox and anemones, giving colour for a long season of interest. The theme is largely pastel and the plants are an informal cottage style mix. There are carefully situated benches and seats, to give the visitor opportunities to simply enjoy the harmonious whole. When one fist enters the garden it is quite literally breathtaking. My fellow visitors, with cameras clicking, clearly felt as I did. But photographs, for all their positive qualities can only freeze a garden at any moment in the mind of the observer.

The walled Gardens

If there is one enduring image of this garden seared on the retinas of the numerous visitors on this showery day in June, it must surely have been that of the herbaceous borders, particularly in the walled gardens with its wide selection of climbing roses and clematis. Here beauty combines with practicality. The beds are clearly used to produce fruit and vegetables for consumption and are grown alongside the more decorative plants enticing the visitor to explore.

Well Cottage Gardens at Badminton

The gardens at Well Cottage, the home of Miranda, the Duchess of Beaufort should not be overlooked. It offers an opportunity to see some lovely plants in a comfortable, relaxed setting. It is obviously a well-loved garden and is particularly attractive with its mix of informal formality. Clearly the garden of a woman who is passionate about plants, it is a welcoming space, as indeed is the whole park. Nestled next to the charming village of Badminton, the house and gardens are quintessentially English in nature. A highly enjoyable visit of inspiration. It is with my gratitude to the Duke and Duchess for opening their gates to the public, the gardeners who must have worked so hard, in-spite of the rain the week before and to Ann Gibson who kindly gave me the tickets.

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