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The Garden at Hidcote [Paperback]

Fred Whitsey , Tony Lord
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Product Description


Eyewateringly beautiful photographs. (Oxford Times)

Authoritative and handsomely illustrated account of the life's work of the enigmatic First World War veteran and lord of the manor. (Independent on Sunday)

About the Author

Fred Whitsey, who died in 2009 at the age of 90, was for many years Gardening Correspondent first of the Sunday Telegraph and later of the Daily Telegraph. He was awarded both the Gold Veitch Memorial Medal and the Victoria Medal of Honour of the RHS.

Tony Lord, photographer, writer and horticultural consultant, holds the Victoria Medal of Honour of the RHS. He has also won the Garden Writers' Guild Award for Best General Gardening Book.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

From The Old Garden

Essential to the Hidcote experience is the sensation of always being on terms of easy intimacy with plants; you seem wrapped around by them. This comes from the fact that almost all the flower borders are twins, each resembling its opposite if not being a mirror image, and the paths and vistas are driven through and between them. Only in two minor instances, the Terrace and the Winter Border, does the design depart from from this principle. The effect is like that of walking through a bluebell wood or across a field of poppies . Thus despite the scenic features, the long vistas, the element of theatre, you always feel a participant, never merely a spectator. For want of an alternative, one talks of the garden's 'flower borders', but the term is scarcely appropriate. The 'walking through' experience is as different from watching a play staged 'in the round' as seeing it taking place beyond a proscenium.

Even in the heart of the Old Garden. perhaps the most richly planted section of all, where the twin plantings are divided by the broad panel of turf opening the dramatic scene of the Great Alley, you are still in direct contact with the work of the planter's hand.

To have made the plantings round the chief viewpoint in the Old Garden, from which the Great Alley is seen first and most often, anything but one bland in colouring would have weakened the theatrical impact of an avenue that strides out into the distance with incidents to be explored on either side. It would have distracted the eye at the start and lessened the powerful effect of the overall scheme. The colouring had to be soft and unobtrusive.

Thus it is pure Jekyllian and could be taken as the prototype of all those borders created in recent years with pink and mauve flowers lit by touches of silver and moonlight yellow. Unlike Jekyll's borders, however, it is carried out not purely in herbaceous plants but also with shrub roses, with a scattering of other shrubs and an underlayer of heraceous perennials. In summer a few batches of annual and tender perennial flowers are brought out from the greenhouses and popped in to strengthen the colour and enhance the effect in those places where the tulips that provide spring flowers are dying down.
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