Dramatic gardens with echos of the opera.
We are excited to offer this rare opportunity to see the gardens at Garsington Manor, now a private home. We head straight there for morning coffee and biscuits in the company of our guide Head Gardener, Sam Wilson.
The gardens are set out on three sides of a 17th century Jacobean manor house that sits atop a south facing slope, once home to Philip and Lady Ottoline Morrell. In the 1920’s it was Lady Ottoline who was instrumental in the creation of the Italianate garden, inspired in parts by the gardens belonging to her aunt at the Villa Capponi near Florence. There is much to enjoy; far reaching views, a parterre of twenty four square beds enclosed by box and upright yew, lawned terraces, reflections of the house in the formal pond, the orchard in bloom and a late 17th century dovecote. Hedges play a major role in the garden; gradually revealing spaces and channelling the view. The gardens are being revitalised, Sam describes this as “an exciting new chapter in the history of the garden”; we hope this visit will be one of a series to follow its development.
Following a delicious lunch in a traditional Oxfordshire village pub we journey on to The Walled Garden at Wormsley, which lies in the rolling hills of the Buckinghamshire countryside, and at the centre of the private estate which has been home to the Getty family since 1985.
The Walled Garden dates back to the mid-1700s, when the original garden was created by Richard Woods – a contemporary of Capability Brown. Neglected for the best part of a century, the gardens were brought back to life by celebrated garden designer Penelope Hobhouse, as part of the wider seven-year regeneration program that Sir Paul and Lady Getty oversaw when they acquired the Estate in 1985.
The Walled Garden is located about a mile from the main house, in the centre of the Estate, ideally positioned to take full advantage of a south-facing location, deep soil and an abundance of water from its two wells, which still support the gardens to this day.
Penelope Hobhouse re-imagined the two-acre site into four garden rooms, which we will explore with Head Gardener Charlotte Tremlin, each with its own unique personality and features; the vegetable garden which supplies produce for the wider estate; the flower garden with its wonderfully revitalised planting and borders; the fragrant rose garden which sits behind the Green Theatre, with its imaginative raised grass stage and yew footlights; and the beautifully manicured Croquet Lawn, complete with a secret garden.
Wormsley is home to Garsington Opera and each summer opera goers have the opportunity to visit the garden prior to the evening performance. Charlotte and her team ensure that the “heady scent” of roses greets all guests along with colour combinations to delight the eye. All will be burgeoning as we visit.
We end our day with a refreshing glass of Pimms (alternative soft drinks available) and nibbles in the garden.
*Finish time: 5.15pm
*Finish times are approximate – please allow for flexibility at the end of the day.
This event has been organised by the Garden Museum’s Garden Visits committee. We recommend you read our Garden Visits Attendee Charter and Refund/exchange policy before booking your place on any of our Garden Visits.