Bywell, Sapperton – Mr and Mrs Alex Kininmonth
Bywell is in that remote portion of the Cotswolds where the ground falls into steep and hidden valleys. It is hard to find, but very well worth the effort. Everything has been built, planted and maintained by Alex Kininmonth himself. The scale of his achievement, on this steeply sloping site, only dawns gradually as the garden slowly reveals itself. The forecourt of the house is backed by a vertiginous south-facing bank lushly planted with a huge variety of shrubs and crowned with a line of Italian cypress. Around the house water, first encountered and crossed at the foot of the bank, becomes an important and unifying feature of the garden; first as a canal, then circular infinity pool, a cascade and finally a naturally planted pool. Everywhere the planting is sumptuous and the garden ornaments, all created by Alex, are witty and downright impressive.
Througham Court, Througham – Anthony Hoffman and Christine Facer Hoffman
Througham Court must be one of the most exciting and challenging gardens in the country. Inspired by both her background as a scientist and the work of her friend Charles Jencks, landscape designer Christine Facer Hoffman has created a garden full of scientific symbolism that ranges from the Fibonacci Sequence to a number of key formulae that govern the working of the universe. The Arts and Crafts layout of yew hedges and sunken gardens (by the Cotswold architect Norman Jewson) merges blissfully with 21st century science. This is a remarkable garden around an impressive 17th century house in a lovely setting. It inspires thought, but with huge charm and great style. For many, the image of plum-coloured flags fluttering against the rolling green hills of an intimate Cotswold valley is unforgettable.
Moor Wood, Woodmancote – Mr and Mrs Henry Robinson
The Robinson family have been at Moor Wood since 1911 and the National Collection of Rambler Roses since 1983. The house, shaded by a spectacular Lebanon Cedar, has evolved into something rather grander from three 18th century cottages. It stands under a wooded bank, looking west over its sheltered valley into ancient Moor Wood. Here Henry has established his collection of 150 Rambler Roses, while Susie, with advice from Lady Mary Keen, has rationalised the garden around the house, where clipped yews give structure to summer perennials, a semi-formal vista ends with wooden gates open onto the landscape. It is the Robinson’s philosophy that landscape and garden should blend seamlessly. They have developed a garden that does just that and then explodes into flower in the last weeks of June.