OUR VISIT TO KIFTSGATE
KIFTSGATE – A garden to experience
For some reason, I found it quite difficult to photograph Kiftsgate. This is a garden for the senses and one ‘feels’ it rather than observes meticulous lines and clipped topiaries. Three generations of women gardeners, have made Kiftsgate what it is today. The garden is still privately owned by Anne and Johnny Chambers and they work very hard in the garden, and share it with thousands of visitors each year, giving them the delight that it gave us. As we waited for the gate to open at precisely 12:00 noon, Johnny Chambers drove up in his car to open it.
These beautiful Irises against the stone wall greeted us as drove up to the manor house and parked.
The house and garden are positioned on the top of a rather steep hill with magnificent views towards the Vale of Evesham.
Kiftsgate Court was built in 1887-91 by Sydney Graves Hamilton. The Georgian front with high portico was physically moved, using a light railway, from his ancestor’s home in Mickleton to this site. It is hugely impressive, even though an ‘unfortunate’ Victorian back was built behind it!
In the early 1920’s, Anne Chambers’ grandparents bought Kiftsgate. Her grandmother, Heather Muir, began creating the garden. She and Lawrence Johnston who created Hidcote, enjoyed a close friendship over the years and no doubt inspired each other enormously.
|Looking through the Scotch Firs towards the Vale of Evesham|
|Anne Chambers’ mother, Diana Binny, had this pool built in the Lower Garden in the 1960’s.|
|The Wide Border, rather pre-Summer. I couldn’t help wishing we had visited a couple of weeks later! “The grass path which runs down the middle, is far from straight and we encourage plants to fall over the edge of the borders much to the annoyance of the mower!”|
|The owner’s mother, Diana Binny bought the well head fountain seen above at the Chelsea Flower Show and had the small pond and fountain installed into the White Sunk Garden in 1972/3. This garden was originally designed as a white garden by the owner’s grandmother. Other colours have since been added.|
|The White Sunk Garden|
|The other side of the White Sunk Garden|
|Looking through the tapestry hedge, now dominated by Copper Beech, through the Rose Border towards the arch of clipped Whitebeam.|
|After passing through the Whitebeam archway, we came across this little fernery. I love the Alliums peeping over the gate.|
|The New Water Garden was added by the current owners. Simon Allison produced twenty-four stainless steel stems topped with ‘golden’ leaves moulded from a philodendron. Their gentle swaying and reflection in the dark water is captivating.|
|Stepping down towards the semi-circular pool|
|The views are magnificent|
The Tearoom at Kiftsgate enjoys an excellent reputation. We had a salmon salad, followed by Victorian sponge cake and coffee. The tearoom is run by Jenny Glover who has spent a lifetime in catering.