6. Gloucestershire – Thursday 18 June

Rockcliffe Tour 6

Bywell, Sapperton, Nr Cirencester
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. Nearly 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 Cistus, Helianthemum, Perovskia (and more) 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 are witty and downright impressive.

Daglingworth House, Daglingworth, Cirencester
Mr and Mrs David Howard

David and Etta Howard have a two-acre classical garden with humorous contemporary twists. There are reflective pools, a new pergola and sunken garden, some wonderful sculptures, and imaginative areas – (some tricks!) – all backed up with good planting; roses, grasses, herbaceous borders, set against beautiful Cotswold walls, including a large walled garden, and enhanced by its village setting close to the church and lovely views. This garden has been created with passion, and the owners have achieved a rather unusual and remarkable garden in the 25 years that they have been at Daglingworth House.

Rockliffe, Upper Slaughter, Nr Stow-on-the-Wold
Mr and Mrs Simon Keswick

The garden at Rockliffe is a perfect blend of informally-planted trees and shrubs and generously filled borders, balanced by a good strong structure of hedges, topiary and pleached limes. It recalls the best of 20th century gardening, but has a contemporary edge to the layout, not surprising as Emma Keswick has designed gardens for others.  The crisp simplicity of a long canal is offset by the softer planting of Cornus controversia ‘Variegata’ overhanging a sunken pool near the house. Beyond lies a series of enclosed gardens, reached by a walk with a wonderful long border. On the other side of the house, a shallow valley contains one of the best maintained kitchen gardens in the county. Above and beyond this, acting as an eye-catcher from the house, is a stone dovecote approached through an avenue of topiary doves.