Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Highgrove Gardens

In August I was able to fulfill an ambition to visit the Prince of Wales' gardens at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire.  It was a rather wet and windy day, but that did not spoil the visit. 
Photography of any kind was strictly forbidden in the gardens, so the pictures here are from the Highgrove Gardens website unless otherwise noted.

I really liked the Sundial Garden - you can just make out the sundial at the bottom of the photo - this sundial has suffered badly in the winter just gone as the foot of it has broken up on one side. The garden is now more colourful than in the photo - it had a black and white theme for a long time but this year the Prince introduced some colour so there are now pinks and purples in the garden as well.

The late Princess Diana sat on the sundial base for a portrait by Tim Graham in 1985/6.
Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images

Near the house is the Thyme Walk although we did not get to walk along it - the topiary bushes are fabulous!  Each of the Prince's 12 gardeners was given a bush to sculpt into whatever shape they liked and there are some very clever designs - here a topiary crown!
In the Arboretum and Sanctuary Garden is Prince Charles' sanctuary.

In this area is a fabulous sculpture by Frederick Hart called "Daughters of Odessa" - and I think this was my most favourite sculpture in the whole garden - it is said to be inspired by the children of the last Tsar of Russia who were all murdered during the Russian Revolution.  The Tsar's 4 daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, comprise the statue and in the pouring rain I loved how the rain drops dripped from the ends of their fingers, it was utterly charming.  I found a picture of a replica.

The tour took us to the Walled Kitchen Gardens which are laid out in 4 quadrants - 2 are after the Scottish Saltire Flag in an X design and 2 after the English Cross of St George Flag in a + design.  The paths are covered in archways of apples and fruits and sweet pea flowers.

 The Mediterranean Garden was very nice and had a fountain and pond with carp fish and you can just make out some of the large sherry urns that adorn the gardens.
The best was saved until last as the last garden to see was the Carpet Garden which was a recreation of the Prince's entry at The Chelsea Flower Show in 2001.  This was truly spectacular!  

Next year I hope to return to Highrove earlier in the gardening year so as to be able to see the famous flower meadows in bloom.  Prince Charles is quoted as saying that Highgrove "...has gradually become a garden which delights the eye, warms the heart and feeds the soul" - I think he has certainly achieved this.


  1. Thank you for talking us with you on your stroll through this enchanting garden. Would love to visit it one day!

  2. Thank you MaiTai! It was definitely well worth the trip - and it is in a beautiful part of England.

  3. Beautiful pictures! I too love the sculpture, would like to find something similar for the garden!

  4. You are so lucky to have been able to see that first hand - Prince Charles is such an inspiration!

  5. SA, I enjoyed reading about your visit to Highgrove Gardens and I look forward to reading about your adventures when you return next year. I have a book about Highgrove and hope to visit one day.

    The picture of the late Princess Diana looking young and happy is a nice touch.

  6. Thank you Elle - I adored the Daughters of Odessa it was such a fluid sculpture, just adorable - happy hunting!

    Yes Mrs Exeter, Prince Charles has certainly created something special there and I was really lucky to have the opportunity to visit.

    SMR - thank you - I really hope you get the chance to visit - 2010 was the first year that tickets were made available to individuals rather than groups only - long may it continue - I already have my calendar noted for the date 2011 booking starts LOL!