In an attempt to stop doing DIY every weekend, a few weeks back we visited the Painswick Rococo Gardens in Gloucestershire. I heard about it before from friends, and always wanted to visit, now was the right time – forget the rain!
Painswick House was built in the mid 1730s. Its owner, the asthma suffering, Charles Hyett came to Painswick to escape the smog of Gloucester and named his new house ‘Buenos Ayres’. Sadly this move was not enough and he died soon after the House was completed. It was his son, Benjamin, who created the fanciful Garden in a hidden valley behind the House. It was a time of great change and gardens became very frivolous, they were a place for garden parties, somewhere for Georgian folk to let their hair down.
Entering the garden, we could see most of the ornate follies and the kitchen garden below – it was like something out of a movie. Strange structures which seem to rise out of nowhere. All around was lush green, a perfect antidote to the City life we have been living just lately.
Late June is probably one of the best times to visit a garden, everything is at it’s full blowsy bloom. We spent ages smelling the roses, watching bees fly between the flowers. Marvelling at the height of the stems and the lushness of it all.
The path led us up the hill slightly to the maze. Charlie had is competitive face on, and devised a race to the middle. Of course there were TWO middles, and I picked the wrong one! Standing at the pond, I announced ‘I won’ only to hear three voices shout ‘wrong middle!’ – ah well.
Back into the Kitchen garden, this time the boys running ahead playing hide and seek amongst the apple trees. The kitchen garden is a thing of beauty. Rows upon rows of beautifully maintained vegetables, not a weed or a slug eaten leaf in sight. Oh how I would love a vegetable garden with neat, prolific rows of veg. Kale, beetroots and peas. Alas I no longer have an allotment, nor the time to tend one – maybe one day in the not so distant future.
Passing the large boating pond, the garden takes on a ‘wild’ quality. Gone are the clipped lawns and rows of manicured veg, instead it makes way for a fairy woodland, with carved castle and hobbit houses. Huge conkers and a wild obstacle course. A playful area designed for all.
It started to pour with rain, and as I was wearing ‘summer’ clothes and not miserable weather clothes, we headed for the cafe for tea and cake. We find that the promise of cake after a walk around a garden is the only way the boys will go! Bribery all the way!
The Painswick Rococo Gardens is open from January to October from 10.30am – 5pm daily. More information can be found on their website.