Visit to Highgrove
On Wednesday, I was fortunate enough to be included in a small party of
British Hosta & Hemerocallis Society members that made a visit to Prince
Charles's private gardens at 'Highgrove' in Gloucestershire.
We had to assemble in a small town a few miles away from Highgrove, there we
were picked up by a coach and taken onto the estate. Highgrove covers 350
acres but the actual gardens that have been developed around the house cover
about 15 acres.
We started our tour of the gardens in a cottage garden area, that Rosemary
Verey had helped the Prince design. Densely planted, heavily mulched and
watered by a computer controlled irrigation system. We meandered around the
curved borders, stopping occasionally, trying as a group to identify plants
we weren't familiar with.
Our guide(not Prince Charles), then led us slowly through the gardens
surrounding the house, the only 'Royal' company we had was the royal dog, a
black labrador who seemed determined to trampell everything in front of us. If
I had been its royal master, I would have ordered "Off with its head", or at
least sent it to the dungeon!
Next we went to the walled kitchen garden and then on through a lightly wooded
area until we came to the Hosta Glade! This is what I had gone to see. The
Hosta Glade has a kind of mystical feel about it. There are two gothic type
timber temples which face each other, ancient tree roots have been used to
create numerous raised beds, which are planted with ferns and hostas. I'm
finding the setting difficult to describe, it was unlike anything I have seen
in a garden before. The many ferns were the stars of the show here for the
time being, as the hostas need another couple of years to develop into decent
sized clumps but I wouldn't have missed seeing this well designed and unique
area. In another couple of years and with a few more varieties of hosta
addedd, this will indeed become a special place.
After a cup of tea and an organic biscuit, our visit to Highgrove came to an
For a detailed description of the Hosta Glade, see the article by Warren
Pollock in the American Hosta Society Journal vol 28 no 1.
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