Gardening on a Grand Scale at Bowood4th September 2014 • Stephanie's Blog • Stephanie Donaldson
It’s been a while since I last visited Bowood House and they have been very busy doing interesting things in the garden over intervening years. Under the guidance of garden designer Rosie Abel Smith, head gardener David Glass and his team have been softening some of the edges around the house. The glorious Italianate Terrace remains as wonderful as ever, but now the façade of the house has been embellished with shrubs and climbers, while around the corner the softening process continues on the Lower Terrace which now has a 70ft long and 8ft deep herbaceous border where lawn previously ran up to the wall.
I like the effect – look outwards and you see the perfection of the Capability Brown landscape with its sinuous lake and mature parkland – look inwards and you see a magnificent house rising from a froth of flowers. New too is the restoration and replanting of the private walled gardens where the external walls contain four one-acre walled squares. Previously they were fairly utilitarian and closed to visitors, but now they are in the process of being stylishly replanted to be both productive and ornamental and can be visited by appointment. There are cutting borders to supply the house and the hotel on the estate, a glorious ‘hot’ herbaceous border where the rich colours sing out against the high brick wall, a productive potager, trained fruit trees, and a wonderful wildflower meadow.
Families know Bowood best for its amazing adventure playground and rhododendron lovers visit its sixty acres of woods when bluebells carpet the ground beneath the vibrant rhododendrons, but visiting it in late summer made me realise that it really is a garden for all seasons which is probably why it won the Historic Houses Association Garden of the Year Award this year.