Thursday, 15 October 2009

Dutch Water Garden

No, I haven't been to Holland (though it's on my list). This particular "Dutch" water garden is tucked away in rural Gloucestershire.

Westbury Court Garden

Apparently, before the Capability Brown trend for 'natural' landscaping, this style of garden was very popular in English country houses. But most were destroyed, replaced with whatever the new fashions dictated. Now, Westbury Court Garden is the only surviving example in England.

Westbury Court Garden

In the past, the canals were stocked with fish for fishing, and there was a huge warren to provide a ready supply of rabbit meat:

Westbury Court Garden

There are apple and pear trees everywhere, and a small vegetable plot.

Westbury Court Garden

Of course, it isn't all about the food. There are also some beautifully laid out, and stunningly colourful, flower gardens:

Westbury Court Garden

Westbury Court Garden


And some rather unseasonal holly:


As you can see in the background of a lot of the photos, there's a little viewing pavilion to give a different perspective across the gardens.

Westbury Court Garden

Inside, something else quite extraordinary. Look at this panel:

Painted panels at Westbury Court Garden

The wood panelling has been painted to give it a bolder grain. (This, too, was apparently a fashion in the past.) The marble effect between the panels is also hand-painted.

Westbury Court Garden is only a small property on the scale of the National Trust, but definitely worth a visit if you're in the area on a sunny day.

Now for a serious moment. Today, as you're probably aware, is Blog Action Day 2009; this year's theme is Climate Change, and sadly it's not hard to tie that into today's post.

While we were visiting Westbury we learnt that they're having huge problems due to the increased levels of flooding in Gloucestershire in recent years - there was a display of impressive, and alarming, photos in which the beautiful gardens are submerged.

This creates a problem as the National Trust is trying to preserve 'heritage' species of plants, which haven't evolved to cope with the floods, and they're currently debating the relative merits of building flood barriers versus replacing the traditional plantings with less authentic but more resilient species. It makes me a bit sad that they find themselves forced to consider this kind of drastic replanting, but it's easy to see why, when some of the current hedges are slowly dying away.

I don't have a 'point', really... I just wanted to show you a beautiful place, and draw your attention to some of the little things that are under threat at the moment.


Anonymous said...

Lovely grounds. There is nothing like this here in newer North America. But climate change affects us everywhere.

Louiz said...

Looks like a fantastic place, and another place where climate change is causing real problems:(

jenny2write said...

Your post is the most thought provoking I've read about climate change, because I do very much like these gardens and I'm very sorry and shocked to learn that the NT may have to change its planting scheme. It's little things like this which really come home.

Anonymous said...

that's not far from me! I drove past there every day for 3 years when I worked in the Forest of Dean. And yes it's a nightmare when it floods. Many a ruined car along that stretch of road and it's surreal coming round the top of the hill and seeing the fields patchworked with flood water

Rachel said...

I swear we don't have anything that beautiful here in the US. Hopefully a solution can be found.

heavealie said...

this place is beautiful!!would love to visit it someday!yeah in India also this year we received like 50% of the rainfall we usually receive.climate is changing and that also rapidly.we need to start making some efoort before its too late!!water level is increasing due to the melting of the north pole ice!!and the poles are shifting too at an alarming rate!!keep writing!!

mavhc said...

Visited last month, rather nice place for a short walk. Don't forget to visit the nearby church also.

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