The garden of Hidcote Manor, Gloucestershire, is one of the most visited in England. With magnificent hedges, an abundance of old shrub roses. scarlet tinted herbaceous borders, masses of wonderful foliage plants and thematic ‘gardens within gardens’, for many it captures everything that an English garden should be.
So I was pleased to get the opportunity to read an original and well researched book about the origins of Hidcote gardens and more of the life of it’s creator.
Ethne Clarke unravels Major Johnston’s background and personality and the shaping of his gardening career.
She places Hidcote in the context of the contemporary gardening world, assessing both Johnston’s influences and the tremendous effect that Hidcote’s innovatory style was to have on the English gardening tradition.
Thoughtfully written and beautifully illustrated, this informed and wholly engaging perspective of Johnston’s life. character and work is a worthy and inspiring tribute to his outstanding achievement.
First published in 1989, the reality of Johnston’s vision and Ethne Clarke’s research provide one of the first narratives on the making of Hidcote, a garden subsequently covered by volumes of subsequent works. For me the orginals are the best.