Saturday, 30 January 2016

A Rococo Garden in the Cotswolds - visited 28.01.16

snowdrops en masse 
Rococo was an artistic movement and style developed in the early C18th in Paris. It not only involved the arts and architecture but also gardens. Today's Rococo gardens are mainly to be found in France and Italy - they were exhuberantly created using extravagant pavillions, fountains and stairways. However, the Rococo garden movement also had a fleeting craze here in England, and although not as grand as their European cousins, they sparkled with unrestrained delights which showed off their ostentatious owners often new found wealth. The Rococo Garden in Painswick is a very rare suvivor in England, and at this time of year hosts a special harbinger of Spring - the snowdrop. The garden grows thousands of them including various different cultivars but the principle snowdrop grown is Galanthus atkinsonii which is commonly known as the "big one".  
As a result of the mild winter weather the snowdrops have peaked three weeks early.

This elegant white stucture is called the Exedra, in architectural terms an exedra is a semicircular recess or plinth often crowned by a semi-dome. Used as a folly here in the Rococo garden it makes a striking focal accent which can be seen from many different points in the garden
The Anniversary Maze spells '250 years' and was newly planted at the beginning of the millenium
 Snowdrops have been growing in this Grove for over 250 years. In the C18th the owners of the house traditionally opened their garden to all the local Painswick residents for one Sunday each snowdrop season and invited them to pick themselves a posy of six snowdrops each

A Palladian seating folly which has been given some exhuberant rococo emblishments
The Kitchen Garden prepared and ready for planting - it looks spectacular during the apple blossom season when the cordoned fruit trees flower 

A Plunge Pool accompanied by running spring-water were essential elements in an C18th century garden. Throughout that period there was an interest in following a cold regime, which was claimed to extend life expectancy. This included spending time out of doors, taking plenty of outdoor exercise and bathing in cold water.
The philosopher John Locke wrote in 1703....
"Everyone is now full of the miracles done by cold baths on decayed and weak constitutions, for the recovery of health and strength;"
In the C18th Plunge Pool activities at Painswick were presided over by Jan Van Nost's statue of Pan which has now been repositioned to another more protected location within the garden


Arched walkway
View across the fish pond to the Red House
 The Red House sits at the head of the valley having commanding views of the garden. It is both flambouyant and eccentric, displaying one of the main features of the Rococo period of asymmetry. The doors to the Red House are locked in the open position as it plays host to a colony of Lesser Horsehoe Bats roosting in the roof - an extremely rare bat in England and only found here the southwest of the country
The Red House was put on the English Heritage 'at risk' register in 2007 when it was discovered that there was evidence of structural movement. In the winter of 2009/10 underpinning was carried out, and at the same time the windows were replaced. They are inscribed in Latin with the Songs from Solomon.
As it's name suggests The Eagle House sits at the highest point in the garden and has far reaching views across the garden to the countryside beyond


This fanciful creation sits on the unaffected stump of a Beech Tree which had become diseased.  It will quickly mellow and blend in with the other trees in the glen. The work was completed by a local chainsaw sculptor, Denius Parson literally days ago - it was inspired by Schloss Neuschwanstein in Bavaria
It seems appropriate to conclude the post with a snowdrop

74 comments:

  1. Dear Rosemary, All I can say is "Spectacular" The gardens so fascinating and all architectural buildings so unusual yet interesting and beautiful. And then there are those sweet snowdrops en masse. I would never have known of such a beautiful place had it not been because of your posting. Thank You.

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    1. Dear Gina - shouldn't you be tucked up in bed and fast asleep - it must be very early in the morning where you live?
      This garden is close to my home - we have several snowdrop gardens in the area.
      It is a lovely garden nestling in the valley so has lots of elevations and vistas. The snowdrops were a delight to see.
      I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing them - I enjoyed them too.

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  2. What a wonderful garden this is and so big with all kind of different places. Those folies are so cute and that Schloss Neuschwanstein is so amazing well made.

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    1. You enter the garden from the top and make your way down into the valley. The different levels and vistas make the garden interesting along with seasonal flower plantings and the follies too.

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  3. How beautiful images. You have already spring, lovely. We will have to wait even 2-3 months. This garden is wonderful, and the castle on top of the collection is a real nice discovery.

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    1. When the sunshines it feels like Spring, but when it rains it feels like winter.

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  4. Magnificent. It just goes to show how good a garden can look in mid winter, especially if it has some structure.

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    1. Blue skies and sunshine also help

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  5. The lawn looks like carpet. The snowdrops look like snow.
    All is just magical....very pretty.

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    1. The lawns are very lush and green because of all the winter rain and the snowdrops are prolific due to the lack of snow and cold.

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  6. What a beautiful place, I love that sculpture and the windows of The Red House in particular, but it's all beautiful.

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    1. It is a lovely garden to have on our doorstep Suzie

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  7. Delightful! I like that new things are being added, like the maze and the stump sculpture.

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    1. I think that you are right Debra - whilst retain the historical aspects of the garden it is also important to move forward too

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  8. Beautiful photos, I'm pretty sure we have visited this one, always try to see some gardens when we're in England.

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    1. It is a special time in the garden at the moment with the snowdrops but it is a garden for all seasons

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  9. Dearest Rosemary,
    I am blown over, with the beauty of the Rococo garden... How amazing are all these snowdrops.. do you know.. I have never seen a snow drop. When i read your wonderful posts .. i am always ready to book a ticket and get on the first jet plane and visit these gorgeously beautiful places.. so extraordinary.
    I somehow thought of India, when seeing the folly and the red brick façade.. wondered if the original owners might have been out in India.. maybe not.
    most enjoyable as always..
    happy weekend. Val xxx

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    1. Dear Val - delighted that you enjoyed seeing the garden which I too enjoyed wandering around the other day.
      You are right, the Red House does have the sort of colouring often associated with India, but it is also a typical example of the Italian/French Rococo style/colouring too.

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  10. Hello Rosemary, This started out great, then got better with each picture. The permanently open doors in the Red House are the ultimate in hospitality--how we treasure those bats that were once despised! I can just imagine those trained apples in blossom too, with the exedra in the background.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - I should have mentioned that the Lesser Horseshoe Bat is very rare in the UK and is in fact confined to living and nesting in the SW of England only - they are a protected species.
      Delighted that you enjoyed seeing the garden.

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  11. Dearest Rosemary ,your post is always so interesting and i am so sorry that I have missed many of them ...These gardens are so beautiful at the middle of winter.But I usually wonder ,which organization maintains financially these gardens . I suppose that you must pay tickets but can be the maintenance only by revenues ...I wish your weekend be happy !

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    1. Dear Olympia - you ask a very valid question about the garden. The garden is now run separately from the house by a Trust. The Trust raise money in various ways by holding fund raising events, applying for grants and securing donations.
      They have a Friends Organisation that has an annual membership fee, but gives unlimited entry to the garden. The Friends hold events such as concerts in the garden to raise money. There is also a cafe, a gift shop and the selling of plants.
      As you mentioned visitors to the garden also pay for their entrance.
      I am pleased that you found the gardens beautiful to see.

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    2. Thank you so much for your explanation . I am thinking that if something is so beautiful we must find and do everything to keep it alive .Eventually it is a matter of education, culture and collective effort !

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    3. Although this Trust is a private one at the Rococo Garden many of our British major gardens and houses are held in trust too, maintained and cared for by the National Trust which you have probably heard of. I am a member of it and each year H and I pay a subscription. We receive a book of all the properties and gardens with the lastest information, opening times, and restoration work etc that has been done. We have unlimited access to any property. The book is about 20 cms thick so that gives you some idea of how many properties are involved. If it were not that way thousands of our properties and gardens would have deteriorated and gardens would have fallen into neglect. It is a wonderful organisation looking after our heritage, our children's, and all those that follow in our footsteps.
      They also own and maintain stretches of coastline, forests, medieval meadows, and in fact I live on land called a 'Common' which is owned by the National Trust and they protect the butterflies, wildflowers, birds, and habitat that live on it.

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  12. Dear Rosemary,
    This post takes my breath away. Your pictures are absolutely amazing and now I've yet another beautiful place to write down on my list of places to vist. Such beautiful gardens and that bed of snowdrops is spectacular. So beautiful! :)

    Take care sweet Rosemary and have a lovely weekend.♥

    Charlie
    xx

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    1. Dear Charlie - your comment has made me very happy - thank you - the photos were helped by the fact that last Thursday was such a glorious day, sunshine and blue skies.
      Snowdrops en masse are a joy to see, these have taken more than a couple of centuries to become so prolific.
      Thank you dear Charlie and hope that the sun is visiting you too♡

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  13. What an incredibly beautiful garden!!!! It is stunning isn't it, and must be even more amazing when the flowers are all out in summer. I love the red house, the beautiful carpets of snowdrops and the newly carved castle!!! All just wonderful. I do love you taking us along on these wonderful visits! Thank you! xx

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    1. It looks stunning at each season but is rather spectacular at the moment with so many thousands of snowdrops

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  14. A fabulous place! And the snowdrops, I can't believe my eyes!

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    1. The snowdrops have been growing there for such a long time that they have taken over the ground cover in The Glen at this time of year

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  15. Another post that quite takes my breath away!!

    I am impressed with the way the photographs are composed, giving a view of the Exedra from different angles and the Red House seen at a distance AND reflected in the pond.

    And the carpet of snowdrops....

    Ms Soup

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    1. Thank you - the Exedra is rather elegant - I love it.

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  16. Much as I love living in Bodrum, I miss the opportunity to visit impressive gardens. Thanks for letting me do so vicariously.

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    1. There are bound to be things that you miss - my brother in Canada gets very nostalgic about country lanes, blossom time, and English pubs. If you were back here then you would miss things in Bodrum too.

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  17. I just love the view of all those snowdrops , what an eyeopening sight !

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    1. Gorgeous little harbingers of spring - I agree Jane

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  18. A sight to behold - sheets of snowdrops with their shy nodding heads - beautiful.
    I would love to be in England in early Spring to see the flowers such as these snowdrops and the carpets of bluebells in the woods.
    I had not heard of Painswick before, what an interesting garden.
    I'm not usually an admirer of the Rococo design but the red house sits beautifully in this garden.
    Again, you've taken us on a journey to another beautiful part of England, thank you Rosemary, I enjoyed our tour!
    I'm delighted to send you some warmth from down under!
    Shane x

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    1. Dear Shane - the next en masse flowers will be the daffodils, the bluebells do not open until April, but may be they too will be early this year.
      Thanks for the warmth from down under, I think I am feeling it already♡

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  19. Absolutely my kind of garden! I liked your pictures so much that I want to take the chance to go there myself in snowdrop time. It's a bit earlier this year than usual, isn't it and I won't have the chance in the immediate future, so I very much hope I'll remember to do it next year.

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    1. You need to check on their website Jenny before you do decide to make a visit. It tells you how the snowdrops are developing.

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  20. Thank you for this lovely post Rosemary. Very interesting to read about the Rococo movement, of which I knew only by name.
    Your post reminds me of my wonderful visit to England in the Spring of 2013. Those snowdrops are gorgeous!
    It's just great to see your beautiful photos as you visit different parts of the English countryside.

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    1. Thank you Betty - the snowdrops are a real spirit lifted and everyone enjoys seeing them again.

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  21. An interesting garden, Rosemary - haven't seen it yet. The snowdrops there are out very early - here they just start to shove their green-blue lancets through the eart.
    And such an opulence, how beautiful!

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    1. Dear Britta - in a normal year they would be like this towards the end of February. I had read on the Rococo website that they were reaching their peak so dashed along our valley on a glorious day last week to see them. I could see from the ones that I have in my garden that they would be looking good.

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  22. What a glorious garden! You were very fortunate with the weather and your lovely photos give such a clear idea of the garden's beauties and special treasures. Yes, the snowdrops are exceptionally early this year and so many other plants are showing signs of new growth.

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    1. It was lovely wandering around in the bright sunshine amongst these lovely snowdrops.

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  23. Gorgeous snowdrops and fun stained glass and stump carving! It's a lovely garden. I'm hungry for anything blooming. We still have snow and ice in our yard in Maine and nothing will bloom for 2 or 3 months. Thanks for the tour!

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    1. For some reason the snow has passed us by, but it can still snow right up until March, so fingers crossed.
      It is lovely to see these little harbingers of Spring so early.

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  24. Oh, the sweet snowdrops really make me smile, Rosemary. Those lovely swathes of them must be a delight to see in person. The Rococo garden is very appealing, and I love the exedra and the red house - wonderfully whimsical. Thank you for sharing it all.

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    1. It is an all-round seasonal garden Patricia, but particularly uplifting during January and February - it lies in one of the valleys near my home.

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  25. This is just too lovely, Rosemary. The exedra intrigued me especially, and the garden settling is gorgous. Like one of the others, I miss much about England, but here in Holland we have beauty too. It's just not the same. Thank you for the tour!

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    1. Thank you for your visit Vallypee - the Exedra is a delightful folly which catches one's eye from many locations within the garden. Do pop in again.

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    2. Hello dear Rosemary!
      What a beautiful garden!!Oh i adore the snowdrops!!
      Wonderful pictures!Excellent shots!
      I really enjoyed your tour to this amazing place!
      Thank you for your sweet comment on my post!
      Have a happy week and a lovely new month!Hugs!
      Dimi...

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    3. It is good to have you back again Dimi - glad that you enjoyed seeing this garden - snowdrops seem to be a favourite with everyone.

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  26. Amazing the wood carved castle and the cascading water. Flowers are early this year.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. The flowers are at least 3 weeks early Filip

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  27. That is a glorious garden Rosemary, and not one I have heard about before. Is it National Trust? The snowdrops carpeting the ground are so lovely, simple and delicate.

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    1. Unfortunately it is not a NT garden Marianne - it used to belong to a private house, but has been separated off and is owned by a Trust.
      I think that the snowdrops in this garden are some of the most prolific that I have seen.

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  28. I have never seen such a wonderful snowdrop display in a garden. The garden looks fantastic with so many different elements and it is so tidy and ready for the new season. The beech sculpture is amazing too. We saw some experts sculpturing with chainsaws a few years ago, and they were so fast and talented. I have enjoyed your post so much. Sarah x

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    1. The sculpture was completed in 5 days. It is fairly hight up and needed scaffolding to reach it.
      I think that these are some of the best snowdrop I have seen too, but I believe all the snowdrops have flourished well this year due the mildness and the damp too.

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  29. Oh my - how beautiful - I think I have died and gone to heaven - even January can be beautiful in a place like this.

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    1. This garden is just along the valley, it was such a lovely day in which to wander and enjoy the snowdrops.

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  30. Good morning, Rosemary! Reading about the plunge pool seems excruciatingly horrid this morning with our sunshine peeking through the clouds but just over the freezing-point temperature. I might have been standing there beside Pan for some time before taking the plunge... How much fun would it have been to be lucky enough to have grown up or else been a visitor during my primary years to Painswick and to have had the opportunity to run around the property in and out of the buildings and pretending to be a princess or fighting off opponents that I could spy from the Eagle House. England rightly should hire you as a marketing person as any gardener absolutely MUST include so many sites you have photographed so masterfully with so much background history and knowledge (I've learned so much this morning about Rococo for instance!)to their itinerary for their next trip. I know I will! My first and only trip to England did not include gardens as my daughter does not have that LOVE that I do but now I'm trying to figure which of my friends would be in heaven to visit these over-the-top delights! Thanks again for a delightful inspiration this morning!

    Mary in Oregon

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    1. Dear Mary - you are extremely generous with your comments and I thank you.
      I know that groups of gardeners do come over from the States - there must be travel agents that specialise in garden tours.
      There are four lovely snowdrop gardens in this area, this one at Painswick, two Arts and Crafts gardens, and one that surrounds what was once an Abbey.

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  31. The snowdrops are spectacular, Rosemary and in such a dull, wet winter it's lovely to see them in some sunshine. It looks such a beautiful garden. How interesting that local people would go and see the snowdrops in the 1700s for that one Sunday - I can just imagine the scene. I also love the carved castle; these chainsaw carvers always amaze me - they're so clever.

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    1. It is lovely to here from you again Wendy - the day I visited last week was perfect, the snowdrops seem to glisten in the sun.

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  32. The garden is beautiful, but the view snowdrops charmed me. Regards.

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    1. There are thousands of snowdrops in this garden Giga - it is a joy to visit.

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  33. I would want to visit in every season - so much to see and such a beautiful variety. I find the carving to be a great addition to the fanciful structures in the garden. We see a lot of carving of stumps over here but they are mostly of eagles and bears. This one really fits into its surroundings.

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    1. You are right H it is a garden for all seasons. In January/February it is inviting with it swathes of snowdrops when we are all desparately looking for signs of Spring.
      You could imagine wee folk in the woodland dale so I agree that the fairylike castle fits into its surroundings.

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  34. I am so pleased to have found your lovely blog. I have family in the Cotswolds, so must make sure I visit this beautiful garden.

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    1. Glad that you enjoyed seeing it Jane

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  35. Wow, you know, I feel like I'm very knowledgeable about art history and gardens overall but in fact can't believe I've never heard of Rococo gardens! However, I have been to some, now that I think of it, just did not know their name. My family lived near a beautiful snowdrop walk in Walsingham, Norfolk. I wonder if that counts as one or not?

    Anyway, Rosemary, how fortunate you are to live near such splendour are this! Stunning and I'm thinking these are all your own photographs too, right? So so lovely. Thank you for sharing!

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  36. Thank you Michael - these are all of my own photos, I was fortunate to visit on a lovely January morning which helps.
    As far as I know this is the only complete Rococo garden in the UK, there are others that have the odd elements still remaining from the rococo period.

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