The Chris Beardshaw Garden Celebrating a 100 years of Hidcote Manor Garden
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2007
The Chris Beardshaw Garden
Celebrating a 100 years of Hidcote Manor Garden
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Chris Beardshaw to revive ‘Jungle’ planting at Chelsea Flower Show
Hidcote Manor Garden is acknowledged as one of the most influential gardens of the 20th century and next year, thanks to Chris Beardshaw, the unique spirit of the gardens will be portrayed at The Chelsea Flower Show to celebrate the centenary of this much loved garden. Riding high on this years success where he won both an RHS Gold medal and the coveted People’s Choice award * Chris has taken inspiration from this mesmerising garden and in particular an original oil painting by Hidcote’s original designer, Lawrence Johnston, to create next year’s showpiece.
Chris says, “Hidcote is such an iconic garden that this is an immense challenge for me and my team – it’s like recreating a Van Gogh! But what is most exciting to me is that we are piecing together from Johnston’s diary entries and writings an idea of how he originally wanted Hidcote to look - and not what has been imposed since the 1950’s – therefore the garden at Chelsea will look much more like his original vision showing off his flair for flamboyant and unusual planting combinations.”
Hidcote Manor Garden is nestled in the heart of the Cotswold’s amongst the rolling Gloucestershire countryside and is visited by up to 140,000 people each year. The estate was originally purchased in 1907 by Gertrude Winthrop and it was her son, Lawrence Johnston, who designed and laid out the gardens from this time onwards. Johnston was a key player in the Art & Crafts movement and it is was his strong vision of a garden bountiful with flowers to provide a total sensory experience that led to the creation that is now popularly known as the ‘Garden of Rooms’ – and nearly 100 years on it is still inspiring, influencing and warming the hearts of thousands of gardeners.
Johnston was inspirational in the creation of the ‘garden rooms’ concept which is so widely accepted today but at the time was revolutionary. The formal hedging, that he was never to see into maturity, are composed of Beech, Yew and Holly and create the perfect backdrop to set off his apparently riotous planting style, which Vita Sackville-West fondly described as ‘Jungle Style’. Each enclosure has its own distinctive personality brought about by the orchestration of plant and colour schemes.
His intrepid plant hunting expeditions, which took him across 5 continents, gave him plenty of new plants to play with and in all he is credited with introducing over 65 plant species to Britain – 24 of which now bear either his or his gardens name and still play a key role today. Johnston bequeathed the house and gardens to the National Trust who acquired it in 1947.
Glyn Jones, National Trust Head Gardener, Hidcote Manor Garden, said:
“Hidcote Manor Garden has inspired so many people over the years and we are delighted that Chris Beardshaw has chosen it as his inspiration for Chelsea. For the gardening team at Hidcote it’s going to be an exciting time assisting Chris in re-creating the spirit and character of this wonderful garden.
“It’s Hidcote’s centenary in 2007 and, with the help of the restoration project that has begun, we hope to showcase it for the next 100 years”
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