Horticulturist Christine Walkden explores gardens and countryside from a hot-air balloon. Christine is in the air above two glorious Gloucestershire gardens.
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Britain has some of the finest gardens anywhere in the world.
For me, it's about getting in amongst the wonderful plants
that flourish in this country
and sharing the passion of the people who tend them.
However, there is another way to enjoy a garden.
And that's to get up above it.
I love ballooning because you can get to see the world below
in a whole new light.
From up here, you get a real sense
of how the garden sits in the landscape,
how the terrain and the climate has shaped it
and I want you to share that experience with me.
Today, we're heading up, up and away
into the skies above one of the country's most beautiful counties.
I'm taking a flight above glorious Gloucestershire.
Look at the view!
Awesome, absolutely awesome.
Gloucestershire lies in the west of England
and borders Wales at its furthest edge.
In the west is the hilly Forest of Dean
and of course the spectacular Wye Valley
And over in the east, the beautiful Cotswold Hills.
The Cotswolds are famous for picturesque towns and villages,
houses of honey-coloured stone and rolling farmland.
Beautiful colours in the landscape.
The soil, the different colours of the cereal crops,
the beautifully well-maintained hedges. They've been clipping.
This is my chance to enjoy glorious Gloucestershire gardens
from 360 degrees.
Today, I'm dropping in on two gardens
created by passionate amateurs 100 years ago
that are still influencing designers to this day.
I'll be getting stuck in with the people who keep them in shape.
-Go on, keep up with me.
-I am trying.
I'll be coming face to face with a garden giant.
Blimey, O'Riley. Crikey, look at it.
And I'll be finding out
how volunteers can make a difference to gardens and to people.
From up here, you can see how the gardens of the Cotswolds
are shaped by the landscape around them.
It's the climate, the gentle topography and high rainfall
that makes this county the ideal setting
for a very spectacular garden.
Hidcote Manor Garden
is one of the most inspirational gardens in the country
and is famous throughout the world as an Arts and Craft masterpiece.
It was first created in 1907
and sits in the very north of Gloucestershire.
It covers ten acres perched on the edge of the Cotswold Hills
and appears like an island in the farming landscape.
From up here, its innovative design is obvious.
When you see Hidcote Manor Gardens from above,
you can see why it works.
It's a collection of garden rooms, each interlaced with each other.
They create a sense of adventure and intrigue
and when you're in there, you get so excited about the plants
and the features that you want to go off and see what's next door.
Two long corridors run through the garden,
one roughly east to west and the other north to south.
They link together a series of garden rooms.
Each is a different size
and features a different planting scheme.
The secret of Hidcote is that it's a magical combination.
It has a formal garden layout with tall clipped hedges
and ordered pathways,
but it's all planted up with informal exuberance.
This was truly revolutionary when the garden was first laid out,
but today, it's a style we think of as typically English.
What's remarkable is that Hidcote was created by an American
with no formal gardening training at all.
His name was Lawrence Johnston, and I'll be finding out more about him
as I explore this wonderful garden.
Hidcote is very special to me.
I trained not far from here so it's one of the first gardens
I got to know really well as a student.
How lucky were we to have this place on our doorstep?
I first started as a gardener
by coming here to learn about the plants.
Lawrence Johnston created beautiful pictures,
created magical planting schemes
and as a young gardener, I was keen to understand those.
Year after year, I continue to return
because it's that excellence that excites.
Andrew Hunt is currently working as the head gardener,
known here at Hidcote as the Garden Curator.
I'm meeting him in his favourite garden room,
the Pillar Garden, named for its tall topiary yews.
-What are you up to?
I'm just taking some fuchsia cuttings from this lovely fuchsia
that we have in front of us.
-It's beautiful, isn't it?
-It is, very nice.
-The red stems are spectacular.
-It's doing really well here.
-Yeah. Can I give you a hand?
-Give you a little bag.
You've not been at the garden very long, have you?
I haven't, no, I started here at Hidcote in the middle of February.
-Right. And how are you finding it?
My background, I come from
a very formal decorative side of horticulture
and getting experience in different gardens is fantastic.
It's the best way to learn, on the ground, working with the team,
working with the plants.
You don't learn to garden by going to college.
-You learn to garden by gardening.
Here's a tip for you.
Right, you know how you're sticking your cuttings in that bag?
If you keep them like that
and you throw them on the potting bench like we do,
you're going to damage half of them.
-Here you are. Here's a little tip for you, take-home tip.
-Blow your bag up.
So now you keep the cuttings more turgid
because the atmosphere develops in the bag
and also, you don't get as much physical damage
because they're surrounded now by a lot of hot air.
Yeah. That's the good thing with gardening,
you learn something new every day.
Every single day and that's what's exciting about it.
It is, yeah.
When Lawrence Johnston first began work on his garden in 1907,
one of the original rooms he planned and planted was the fuchsia garden
and now Hidcote is famous for them.
The first fuchsia in England arrived from South America in 1788
and throughout the following century,
plantsmen began breeding the different varieties we know today.
A hardy variety will happily live outside all year round
and will give a blast of colour to the garden
from summer right through to autumn.
Out of fashion for a long time,
fuchsias are now rightly regaining their place in our gardens.
The cuttings which Andrew and I are taking
will eventually find a home somewhere
in one of Hidcote's lovely borders.
So, what's your take on the garden?
What is floating your boat, Andrew? Come on.
Come on, what is it?
I think it's the plant collection,
but it's also the uniqueness of the garden and the planting style.
When I was training, it was to plant small stuff at the front
and then the medium and the tall stuff.
-Here, that goes out the window.
-Yeah, but what happens then...
And the amateur reads that ten foot, eight foot,
six foot, four foot, two foot and you've got step, step, step
-and you never get that beautiful billowing gentleness.
And the other problem with that is you can see them all.
The aim of a good border
should be that you stand at one side and you can't see everything.
That sense of adventure,
that sense of 'what is round there?'
Yeah, and I think that's why Hidcote is unique
because it's a sense of exploration.
There's little glimpses and views
that make you go through the garden.
And that's the essence associated with the garden rooms.
It is, yeah, absolutely.
-Yeah, so do you believe they work?
I think they do and I think that's the nice thing
that each garden room is completely different.
Every time you go round the corner, it's, "Wow,"
and it does take your breath away and there's just...
It's just a very cleverly-designed garden.
There are 28 different garden rooms at Hidcote.
There's no set order to explore them in.
The idea is you wander at will and let the garden reveal itself.
The Bathing Pool Garden has formal lines and a statue centrepiece.
Mrs Winthrop's Garden is named
in memory of Lawrence Johnston's mother.
The Red Borders showcase flowers and foliage
of every shade from deep bronze to almost purple.
And the Stilt Garden features hornbeam trees
trimmed so neatly into shape.
Lawrence Johnston began his transformation of Hidcote here,
in the Old Garden.
And then, as now,
one of the main features was the huge philadelphus, or mock oranges.
Your philadelphuses are looking absolutely glorious.
Most of them are, Christine, but apart from this one.
Ah, OK. Right, then.
-A bit sorry for himself.
-It does. How old is this?
He's probably a good ten years old.
-Right, well, he needs a good haircut, doesn't he?
Yeah, we need to get in there and chop it down and revitalise it.
So I'm going to drop this
and I'm going to drop it right down to the ground.
-Go on, then.
-Is that all right?
-That's fine. Chop away.
Let's have a... If you grab stuff, so we...
This is very satisfying, you know.
-Go on, keep up with me.
-I am trying.
Usually, philadelphus needs pruning straight after flowering
to remove all of the flowering stems,
leaving the younger ones.
This one is so bare that it's going to be cut down really hard
to encourage some new growth from the base.
It's traditional to do this in the winter
but this one needs urgent attention, so we're tackling it now.
I mean, it's one of those jobs
that people are frightened of doing, isn't it? Cos it does look drastic.
It does, yeah, yeah. But you have to be brutal.
I personally enjoy this sort of work. This is what gardening's all about.
And bringing back, you know, something that's horrible and tatty
and, you know, just lost all its beauty.
I mean it's a nonsense, just hack it back, mate.
This is exactly
what Lawrence Johnston would have done, wouldn't he?
Absolutely, yeah, and that's the essence of the garden here
and certainly this part of the garden, the Old Garden,
is the gentleman's back garden.
Today, Andrew has a team of around a dozen full-time gardeners
keeping on top of jobs like this.
But when Lawrence Johnston first started his work at Hidcote in 1907,
he had no professional gardeners at all.
The garden wasn't yet the masterpiece we see today.
Originally, when they bought the property, it was just this.
This was the garden that came with the property
and the rest of the garden that people see today was farmland.
Lawrence Johnston's mother wanted her son
to become a gentleman farmer but he had other ideas.
The creation of the garden had become his focus.
As he went travelling and sort of got more into horticulture,
saw plants, saw seeds and cuttings,
liked it, brought it back here and created his own garden.
Lawrence Johnston's growing passion for gardening
coincided with the British craze for plant hunting.
Expeditions travelled the globe to gather exotic specimens
for the great gardens of the country.
One of the most famous plant hunters was EH Wilson,
who was born in Chipping Campden, just down the road from Hidcote.
He made so many trips to the Far East
that he got the nickname Chinese Wilson.
Wilson worked at Kew Gardens before becoming a plant hunter in 1899.
His first adventure was to travel to China
in search of a fabled specimen called the handkerchief tree.
Armed with just a rough map,
Wilson travelled across the country for ten days.
On reaching his destination,
he discovered that the tree he'd travelled so far to find
had just been cut down for timber to build a house with.
Undeterred, he carried on looking
and eventually found another tree bearing seeds,
which he collected and carried home.
The handkerchief tree was just one of 1,200 different plants
Wilson brought back from the Far East,
some of which now bear his name.
They include trees, shrubs and flowers.
In Wilson's home town, Chipping Campden,
a memorial garden was planted in 1976
to celebrate the centenary of his birth.
It contains a magnificent collection of plants
that he brought home from abroad,
and it's a fitting tribute to a man whose adventurous spirit
changed the look of plants in all our gardens.
Meanwhile, back at Hidcote, Lawrence Johnston
was organising plant-collecting trips of his own.
He visited Africa and China
and collected trees and shrubs for his garden,
many of which still flourish here today.
Eventually, Lawrence Johnston decided to give his garden,
his life's work, to the nation.
In 1948, he bequest the property to the National Trust
and it was the first garden that the Trust took on
purely for its garden merit.
Really? So it wasn't the house that ticked the boxes
on this occasion?
Yeah, it was the garden that sort of inspired the Trust to take it on.
His last years he spent in France, in the south of France.
He visited Hidcote once before he died
and his body was brought back here
and he's buried in the local churchyard.
OK, well, that's a nice link, isn't it?
-Right, come on, let's get this down.
-Just keep going.
-Doesn't take us long, does it?
-It doesn't take us long.
Not a big job. You're doing a good job. Do you want a full-time job?
Oh, would you take me on?
There are some jobs at Hidcote that Andrew and his team
need to keep on top of year round.
It takes the gardeners four days a week,
ten months a year, just to keep the hedges
looking this neat and tidy.
Mind you, there are four and a half miles of them!
Before electric hedge trimmers,
gardeners in great houses would have done this entirely by hand.
But they might have had access to some newfangled gadgets to help.
These multi-bladed hedge shears would have come in useful
and Lawrence Johnston might even have invested
in one of these two-man trimmers to get the job done more quickly.
In times past, there was no end of gadgets
available to the average gardener.
Some of them might seem a bit odd to modern eyes.
I've even used one of these in my greenhouse.
It's a cucumber straightener,
perfect for anyone who can't bear a curvy cue.
You pop the tiny fruit in one end and lo and behold,
it grows as straight as you like.
But I think this is practical.
It's a pot brush...
..especially for washing out terracotta pots throughout the year.
Functional and moneysaving, my kind of gadget.
-Job's a good 'un.
-That is wonderful.
Now, you see, a lot of people would stand and look at that and say,
-"You've killed it."
And, you know, by the end of the summer,
the growth's going to be this high
and next year, it's going to be this high
and the following year, it's going to be absolutely glorious.
We'll go and have a cup of tea
-and then we'll clear this rubbish.
Getting stuck into a job like this is great fun
and it doesn't matter whether it's on a grand estate
or in your own back garden.
Just up the road from Hidcote,
a project called The Butterfly Garden
is encouraging a love of gardening in people of all ages and abilities.
It's the brainchild of garden centre owner Chris Evans.
12 years ago, a visit from a group of kids with learning difficulties
inspired him to start teaching gardening
to anyone who wanted to learn.
He set aside some unused land for the project
and watched it grow and grow.
I have students who are 12 and 13 and my oldest is currently 75.
They attend for free,
they can attend when they want to
and what I do when students arrive on a daily basis is saying,
you say, "All of these things are going on
"and it doesn't matter which bit you do."
As the project's expanded, the students can also learn
other skills, like woodworking.
And everyone gets involved in fundraising
by recycling old video tapes.
Hey, don't do that.
But the heart of the project is still its garden.
What we're up to today, we have an area that is a wildlife area
but out in the middle, we set up a desert,
which is covered in weed and debris
which periodically, we pull back to the surface,
so we're resurrecting a desert.
So anything that you see as a weed,
we're going to have out of here,
then we'll make a hole in there
and then Troy can dig out to get that big yucca in.
I enjoy coming here. It's just getting better by the minute.
I can see there's a lot of activities going on.
What do you reckon? Is that a good position? Higher, lower?
-Bring it this way a bit.
It is a joy.
Those people continue to come and continue to support
and every day, there will be something different that's going on.
Chris has now recruited dozens of volunteers to the project,
who seem to get as much out of it as the students do.
It's the best place on earth and people are so friendly
and people fit in and people are very encouraged when they come.
Some people are quite nervous.
They just naturally settle in and make friends
and just participate in anything.
What motivates me is seeing individuals thrive.
You know, they love the place and they feel very secure and safe here
and they work jolly hard and it's not an onerous thing
to be a volunteer here.
It makes me feel like, you know, part of a team,
makes you work good, feel good
and it just makes you really happy inside.
OK, I think the hole's big enough. You ready?
And in May 2014, the work of The Butterfly Garden
received royal recognition.
There was real excitement on the site at the turn of the year,
when it was announced that, as a site,
we had won the British Empire Medal,
we were awarded the British Empire Medal
in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.
It was a very emotional day and at the end of the day,
exhausted because the students were just full of the whole experience.
It was amazing and certainly a great way to start the year.
-That's teamwork for you.
It's where it is today as a result of the huge numbers
that are attending both in support and as the regular students.
I reflect every day and think, "I can't believe my luck."
Without his team of helpers,
Chris would never have got
The Butterfly Garden project off the ground.
But volunteers are also vital
to the running of a well-established garden like Hidcote.
There are nearly 100 of them there
helping to look after the 150,000 visitors
who come through the gate every year.
I've come to meet one of the most dedicated, Sue Croft.
-You see the lime arbour over there?
I just love coming down the arbour and standing there by the wall there,
just looking down on this piece of the garden.
It's just leaving the formality of the garden
and then into this jungle of beauty.
Sue's connection with Hidcote came about more by accident
A friend and I visited a summer afternoon.
While I was at Hidcote, I saw, in the ladies' loos,
an advert wanting volunteers
and I was looking to learn more about the garden
and its history and the structure.
You realise that it is an amazing place
and because I'm wowed by it,
I try and enthuse visitors.
If they come and they want to listen to a talk,
I try and give them information about the garden,
so it's really passing on your enjoyment to other people.
Sue's a retired PE teacher.
Like Lawrence Johnston, she's had no professional gardening training.
She's picked it up as she's gone along,
starting when she was a child.
My father grew quite a lot of fruit and vegetables
so the interest in gardening has just been inherited.
But I know that I'm no different
to hundreds and thousands of other people.
It's a very healthy pursuit, it gets you outside,
it gets you motivated to go and visit lovely gardens.
She loves the place so much
she's even creating a mini Hidcote in her own back garden.
When you see what's in the garden,
you're inspired to try little bits of it yourself.
So it definitely does have an effect
and I think that's why people take the mickey and say,
"Oh, she's got little bits of Hidcote in her garden."
Sue spends every Tuesday working as a garden guide.
She's really got the Hidcote bug.
-It gets almost like a drug.
If you miss a week, you think,
"Oh, it's Tuesday, I should be at Hidcote."
Her enthusiasm must be infectious.
While Sue looks after the crowds of human visitors,
her husband, Bill, looks after a different sort of swarm,
Hidcote's own bee hives.
Do you both come together?
Well, I was here first, I discovered Hidcote first.
So he comes on a Wednesday and I come on a Tuesday
and he'll tell me things that have happened on a Wednesday
and I can tell him things that happened on a Tuesday.
But I think it's nice to have your, you know,
to have an individual interests and meet new people.
Well, I always say to visitors,
you really need to visit Hidcote three times a year
to see the garden through the seasons.
-There's no problems with access now.
-Free to roam.
It's very obvious that both you and Bill
get a tremendous amount out of this garden.
Mm, we do, we do, but for me, the pleasure is being in the garden
and the visitors.
For Bill, it's being with the bees in this garden
and the visitors as well.
I'm going to leave Sue behind, looking after Hidcote's visitors
while I take a trip to another glorious Gloucestershire garden.
And I don't have far to go to get a look at this one from above.
After the First World War, a family moved in next door to Hidcote
to make their home in a lovely house called Kiftsgate Court.
Not only does this garden share the same soil and aspect as Hidcote,
but it too was the creation of passionate amateurs.
Back in 1918, the lady of the house was called Heather Muir.
Like many rich women of the time, she enthusiastically took up
the newly fashionable hobby of gardening.
In time, her daughter Diany inherited the house
and now her daughter Anne has taken up the reins.
Anne, three generations of ladies have made this beautiful garden,
but how did your grandmother start?
I don't think she really ever intended to make a garden,
but my grandparents bought the house in 1918 and luckily for her,
Lawrence Johnston at Hidcote had moved there ten years previously
so he had started creating his garden there
and they became friends because they were neighbours
and I think he must have said to her,
"Come on now, you've got a lovely house,
"you've got to start making a garden."
So that's what she did.
When Anne's grandmother moved here,
Kiftsgate had one small formal garden right by the house,
a very similar set-up to the original layout of Hidcote.
She began clearing the woody hillside for a new garden
and commissioned the lovely summerhouse
to enjoy the stunning new views.
In the '50s, Heather's daughter, Diany,
carried on expanding and improving the garden.
During her time in charge, Kiftsgate first opened to the public.
Now, around 20,000 people a year come to enjoy its fabulous vistas,
shady corners and colourful planting.
But what most people want to see is the famous Kiftsgate rose,
a rambler rose that thinks it owns the place.
-Crikey, look at it!
-Yes, it is a monster.
Gosh! And that's one plant?
Yes, that's just one plant, planted by my grandmother in the 1940s.
One of those big mistakes.
I don't think it is
because this is how you see them growing in the wild.
I mean, they shoot up trees and then cascade like bubbling champagne.
I think it's glorious and what, 60, 70 foot high?
Well, it's right at the top of the trees.
Yes, I mean it just grows and grows.
Roses that grow upwards are either climbers or ramblers.
Climbing roses are usually repeat-flowering,
so should give you fragrant displays throughout the summer.
Most ramblers only flower once a year but be warned,
as Kiftsgate rose shows, they can get very big indeed!
-God, I think we should trim its whiskers.
Anne and her husband Johnny
took over running Kiftsgate in the 1990s.
What sort of a mark do you think you've left on this garden?
Well, it's always difficult when you inherit a garden
because you're sort of looking after what's gone before you,
but Johnny and I put in a new water garden 14 years ago,
where the old tennis court was
and that was fun because we were able to sort of create something new,
and each generation has done that.
I mean, my grandmother obviously planted all the hedges
and created the original garden
and then Mum put in the semi-circular swimming pool in the lower garden
and commissioned two of the statues by Simon Verity,
so I think each generation does add to it
and that's always... It's lovely with the continuity.
It works well.
Gardens grow and change year round
but they also change with the gardeners who look after them.
From grandmother to mother to daughter,
Kiftsgate has carried on evolving over the last hundred years.
So what of the future?
I mean, do you have children that you can pass the garden on to?
Well, who knows? I mean at the moment, they're not that interested.
Although they're sort of in their sort of late 20s,
they're all working and abroad and in London,
but we weren't interested, Johnny and I, really,
although I grew up here.
I think it's something that you grow into, gardening,
and until you've got your own, you don't really get the bug.
So I'm ever-hopeful, but if it doesn't happen,
you know, I'm quite philosophical.
It's given us tremendous pleasure, so we'll just have to wait and see.
What I find fascinating, Anne, though,
is that three generations of gardeners with no training
have created this
and that's such an inspiration for people
and it just shows that, you know, with some passion and enthusiasm
and a bit of knowledge, you can create, I mean, a masterpiece.
A bit of hard work's involved but having said that,
you've got to love it.
I think love it and when you're creating something,
even thugs that look elegant,
I think there's something very special about that
-so just keep up the good work.
I think neighbour Lawrence Johnston would be quite moved
to know that his encouraging words
led to the creation of this very special place.
It's a garden that's already been 100 years in the making
and I hope Kiftsgate will carry on evolving for years to come.
Both Kiftsgate and Hidcote are the creations of amateurs,
but they're also labours of love.
Neither Lawrence Johnston nor Anne's grandmother
were natives of Gloucestershire,
but they arrived as horticultural virgins
and created two beautiful, distinctive and uplifting gardens.
There's something just so inspirational
about the countryside of the Cotswolds.
You can see it's a mainly rural landscape
with stone-built villages dotted around.
You've got lots of glorious gardens and houses.
It's also an area that has inspired some of the country's finest minds.
Among the most famous
were the geniuses of the Arts and Crafts movement,
whose ideas inspired the creation of Hidcote.
Arts and Crafts flourished
at the end of the 19th and the turn of the 20th centuries.
It promoted traditional craftsmanship and natural materials
and harked back to the romance of medieval times.
In 1878, one of the key figures in the movement,
the artist William Morris,
made his home in the Cotswolds at Kelmscott Manor
and found the inspiration for many of his designs
in its beautiful garden.
The Cotswold countryside
also inspired another important figure in the movement,
the designer CR Ashbee.
In 1902, he moved to the town of Chipping Campden
and set up a branch of his Guild and School of Handicrafts.
He encouraged some of his London apprentices
to move here from the East End
to enjoy a healthy new life in the country,
where they could make and sell Arts and Crafts metalwork and furniture.
He established a workshop for jewellers, blacksmiths
and cabinet-makers in a disused silk mill in the town
and set about teaching traditional crafts to the new arrivals.
Mary Greensted is an expert
on the wonderful collection of Arts and Crafts treasures
at the Court Barn museum.
When Ashbee moved to Chipping Campden in 1902,
he was already a very established designer in London
but you certainly do get more use of floral motifs,
particularly in the enamelwork, like this pendant.
Here you can see, you've got this lovely pansy design,
with this beautiful emerald green background to it
and you definitely get more of these naturalistic designs
after the move to Chipping Campden.
This wonderful object,
it's a presentation cup and this is really interesting.
It was made in the year that the guild moved to Chipping Campden.
You've got this lovely enamelwork,
which almost suggests a field of wild flowers
or sort of lilies and greenery on a pond
and these sort of romantic suggestions of nature
are what Ashbee was really good at.
Ashbee's Guild of Handicrafts only lasted for five years.
Competitors began mass-producing very similar objects
and the project eventually went bankrupt.
But this setback wasn't the end of craftsmanship in Chipping Campden.
The Old Silk Mill is still home to the family of silversmiths,
descendants of one of Ashbee's original apprentices, George Hart.
And they're keeping the Arts and Crafts style alive to this day.
This cup was made by Derek Elliott
who works in the Silk Mill in Sheep Street
and it has lots of echoes of Ashbee.
Derek has used the pink here,
which was Ashbee's symbol for the Guild of Handicraft,
but also these lovely sort of flower shapes,
flower and leaf shapes, just suggesting the Cotswold countryside.
So this is a lovely piece for Hart silversmiths to have made
for Court Barn to show that continuation of the craft tradition,
right up until the present day.
The artistic tradition has now been flourishing in Chipping Campden
for over 100 years.
On the ground floor of Ashbee's Silk Mill
is the art gallery run as a cooperative.
The lovely ceramics on sale here
are the work of local potter Emma Clegg.
She's another artist who's found inspiration
in the Gloucestershire countryside.
You can't help but be influenced by your surroundings.
The flowers that I use on my pieces
are really an echo of what I see when I'm out walking my dog, Molly.
In the spring, I'll use lots of buds.
In the summer, I'll use lots of flowers
with sort of full-blown petals
and in the winter, I tend to use a lot of berries.
I think creative people are instinctively drawn to this area.
Whether it's consciously or subconsciously,
there's an awful lot of us.
Now, there's one part of Hidcote garden that I saw from the air
that I've been itching to take a closer look at
and that's the famous Long Walk.
Andrew and Sue are going to show me
just why it's such a key part to the garden's design.
Hidcote's an interesting garden because, you know,
we tend to think of it as garden rooms,
but this Long Walk is also a part of Hidcote, isn't it,
and what puts its stamp on it?
It is and it's absolutely lovely cos you get a lovely view vista
looking out into the Cotswold countryside
and it's a very clever way of linking the garden rooms with each other.
I always advise visitors to go
and, when they come out of the manor, they've got their map
and they're too busy jostling with it to find it.
I say, "Forget that, look at that view,"
and they look through the gardens to the Gates of Heaven
and the Vale of Evesham and I say,
"That's what you should be focusing on
"and just appreciate how clever Lawrence was,
"incorporating the landscape into his garden."
Every one of Hidcote's visitors benefits from the hard work
of its trained gardeners and its devoted volunteers.
It's been a privilege to meet some of them today
and to take a look at this wonderful place from their perspective.
Certainly the work that every volunteer does is so valuable,
it's just amazing. The garden wouldn't...the property
wouldn't look as good as it does today
if it wasn't for people like Sue that come
and dedicate their time to the garden.
I want to leave behind a permanent thank you to recognise
the difference that Sue and her fellow volunteers make
to one of my favourite gardens.
For the past few weeks, Emma, who we met earlier,
has been working on a secret project for me.
She's been creating a tribute to the volunteers,
which I'm going to present to them today.
I was absolutely delighted to be asked to make a piece for Hidcote.
It's just the most beautiful setting,
the gardens are just amazing
and I was very, very honoured indeed.
I'm going to ask Sue to accept the tribute
on behalf of all of her colleagues.
I've been volunteering for a few years.
The volunteers at Hidcote are extremely important
to just managing this garden.
It doesn't matter what season you come, it is sensational.
To keep it a surprise, I've tempted Sue to join me
with something as English as Hidcote,
a traditional cream tea.
-So do you like scones and things?
Look at this. See, scones, tea, cakes.
It's not just scones and tea that I've brought you for
because there's also another little surprise
because what we'd like to do is celebrate the time,
the passion, the enthusiasm you've brought to the garden as a volunteer
and just an acknowledgement of the contribution
that volunteers give to this garden,
but to gardens all around the country.
So we'd like to just leave a little gesture
-and a little thank you, wouldn't we, Andrew?
Isn't that beautiful?
Emma created a work of art
inspired by the profusion of flowers at Hidcote.
She even picked foliage to use as moulds for the china leaves.
It's a wonderful tribute to the enthusiastic amateurs
who give up their time to look after this marvellous garden
and who keep founder Lawrence Johnston's vision alive.
"Hidcote, a beautiful place with a fascinating story."
That's lovely and I love the wood as well. That's gorgeous.
There you are, so a little thank you for everything
you and all the other volunteers do.
So well done you. Give us a kiss.
Lovely. Oh thank you very much.
Well, I can't speak for all volunteers
anywhere, everywhere, but for the volunteers at Hidcote,
you know, nearly 100 of us,
I would like to thank you for this lovely gift
which we will all treasure.
A great pleasure.
I've had an absolutely glorious time here at Hidcote, as I always do,
but what's nice is I've had the opportunity of meeting
the guides and the other people that contribute
to what makes Hidcote very, very special.
Thanks very much for having me.
I've always known that you don't need formal training
to make a garden blossom.
One thing unites Lawrence Johnston's Hidcote,
Anne's neighbouring Kiftsgate and Chris's Butterfly Garden -
all three have grown from the passion of some amazing people.
As I take to the air, I'll get one last look at the glorious Cotswolds,
the inspiration behind some very special places
in the loveliest of counties.
I've had a lovely day in Gloucestershire.
A gentle county, a gentle tribute and, for me,
I can go home very happy.
Christine Walkden is in the air above two glorious Gloucestershire gardens.
At Hidcote Manor Garden she cuts an underperforming shrub down to size and meets Sue, for whom the garden is an inspiration. At Kiftsgate Court Gardens she tackles an enormous rambling rose. We discover the arts-and-crafts heritage of the Cotswolds.