Stowell Park, Northleach
The Lord and Lady Vestey
Stowell was built in the early 17th century on the site of an earlier house, proof that, even then, the quintessentially English view, across parkland, over the valley of the River Coln and into Chedworth Woods rising up the far bank, enchanted. The Elizabethan house was enlarged in the 1880s, about the time the garden was laid out. Below the house, formal terraces drop away towards the park; the highest paved, the next grass with double herbaceous borders and the lowest with gigantic yew buttresses seemingly supporting the high stone wall. From here a vista takes the eye through stone gatepiers topped with ball finials, past a 17th century dovecote and a woodland garden, into the park. Behind the house lies the spectacular walled garden. This is divided into sections, for vegetables, fruit and cutting borders and a central rose pergola, underplanted with box hedges, crosses the width of the garden to the peach house, one of a series of specialist glasshouses in the walled garden.
Clapton Manor, Clapton-on-the-Hill
Karin and James Bolton
The two-acre garden wraps round the 16th and 17th century house in a series of separate spaces enclosed by hedges of box, yew and hornbeam. By the house, pollarded limes rise from borders of early summer-flowering perennials divided by yew buttresses. A pyramid of clipped Prunus lusitanica is surrounded by beds filled with Helianthus, Dahlias and Salvias for late-summer colour. Behind a barn, the garden continues with panels of long grass, trees and flowering shrubs and beech hedges clipped to give a false perspective.
Wychwood Manor, Ascott-under-Wychwood
Mr and Mrs Alex Wilmot-Sitwell
An avenue of lime trees leads up to the forecourt of Wychwood Manor, which has been planted very soberly with yew, box, Hydrangea ‘Limelight’ and Alchemilla. This discretion only hints at the triumphant creation of Isabel and Julian Bannerman which lies on the far side of the house. Pedimented oak gates lead onto a generous terrace almost swamped with Cistus, lavender, Stachys and Helianthemum. Circular steps lead down to a lawn surrounded on four sides with borders, containing monumental yews, underplanted with roses and perennials. The main axis from the house continues down more steps, now framed by honeysuckle and lavender, to a formal lily-filled pool surrounded by yellow and blue borders and on through stone pillars towards the orchard and the lake.