Bywell and Ablington Manor
Both our gardens today are set in the natural contours of the Cotswold Hills, close to Cirencester. In the morning we visit Bywell, a charming Cotswold stone property on a steep hillside with stunning views over open countryside, where we are the guests of Alex and Nicky Kininmonth. After morning coffee, Alex will explain his ongoing development of the garden, from scratch, over the past 19 years. A colourful and densely planted bank of shrubs and trees rises above the drive, topped by a line of Italian cypresses that screen the raised vegetable garden. In front of the house a natural spring feeds a ford and rill, which runs down the hillside through another bank to a pond and bog area. Each level of this delightful and informally tended garden is richly planted with interesting trees and shrubs, and there are random pieces of sculpture, some of which have been built by Alex.
From here we will drive to the home of Kate Gordon Lennox of Rich Pickings (Wedding and Event Flowers), where we will have lunch and a chance to explore Kate’s courtyard and cutting garden. We will then move on to 16th century Ablington Manor for a rare opportunity to visit its extensive and beautifully maintained garden, which has been featured in Country Life. Here we are the guests of Robert Cooper, who moved to this historic house in 1975, and his wife Prudence. They have developed the six-acre garden together, initially with the assistance of head gardener Leslie Blackwell and latterly with his successor Jason Rice. From the broad Yorkstone terrace along the back of the house, the garden has sweeping lawns down to the River Coln, where a stone bridge leads to a croquet lawn bordered with peonies and hydrangeas. Further along, a simple wooden footbridge crosses a weir and amongst the many features you can explore in this exceptional garden are rose-covered pergolas and a pavilion, beautifully planted borders, a sunken walled garden and a plethora of tightly clipped topiary. Our day will end with afternoon tea.
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.