Let’s Peep Over That Garden Wall

A garden behind a high wall is a tease and a challenge and we all wish to go inside and satisfy our curiousity.

The Thyme Walk in early summer
The Thyme Walk in early summer
The Pergola
The Pergola

The cult and illusion of exclusivity is a wonderful marketing ploy. The garden behind the high walls and locked gates is the one we all want to see but £24.50 will turn the key in the Highgrove Garden gate and allow you curtailed, guided, supervised and restricted access to the gardens – no photographs allowed, stay in line and do be respectful, please!

The Lawn
The Lawn

I am only making fun – to some extent – as I feel the Prince of Wales Highgrove Gardens are an example of the most wonderful self-promotion and people are almost literally breaking down the gates to get in to see the gardens and be funnelled through the shops and restaurant to maximise their spend. Access is restricted, numbers are limited but, please, let your spending be without restraint on our beautifully labelled “Highgrove” this and “Prince of Wales” that.

The Meadow with Crocus 'Purpureus Grandiflorus' and 'Remembrance'
The Meadow with Crocus ‘Purpureus Grandiflorus’ and ‘Remembrance’

However, and very importantly, it must be said that the gardens are wonderful, delicious and a joy to behold and that the Prince of Wales seems to be a most enthusiastic and knowledgeable gardener and promoter of the values of sustainability, conservation, organic farming and general good care of our planet – all in all a good chap.

The kitchen garden with daffodils and tulips
The kitchen garden with daffodils and tulips

highgroveNow, if you are not already booked in for an individual tour or a group tour or even the “Champagne Tea Tour” you can take a peep over the garden wall through Bunny Guinness’ book “H.R.H. The Prince of Wales Highgrove: A Garden Celebrated” which lavishly described and illustrates the garden throughout the year in a month by month approach with each month introduced by a note from Prince Charles, text by Bunny Guinness and photographs from Marianne Majerus (always fabulous!), Andrew Butler and Andrew Lawson. From January to December it is a feast for the eyes and, although the text is well written, comprehensive and informative, it is the photographs which carry the narrative along so wonderfully. So, if you cannot get to visit this season I highly recommend the book as the next best alternative.

[Highgrove, A Garden Celebrated, Bunny Guinness, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2014, HB, 240 pages, £35, ISBN: 978-0-297-86935-1]

The Borghese Gladiator statue standing between the Lily Pool Garden and the Lime Avenus
The Borghese Gladiator statue standing between the Lily Pool Garden and the Lime Avenus
 View to the Arcadian Parkland with traditional cleft oak fencing
View to the Arcadian Parkland with traditional cleft oak fencing
The Thyme Walk in December
The Thyme Walk in December
The central pool of the Terrace Garden with pots of Rhododendron 'Alfred'
The central pool of the Terrace Garden with pots of Rhododendron ‘Alfred’
Winter frost in the Sundial Garden
Winter frost in the Sundial Garden

Paddy Tobin

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3 thoughts on “Let’s Peep Over That Garden Wall

  1. And if you were lucky, you could be going there on 24 August with Frances MacDonald and Travel Department!! One great fact is that all the money from garden entrances, restaurant and shop goes to HRH’s charity – and the guides are wonderful. Travel Department runs two tours each year. Contact Frances to put your name on the list for 2016. http://www.thebaygarden.com

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