Design, In the Garden, Travel Notes


Back to the Cotswolds: Bourton House and Garden

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Happy first day of December! As I head off to London, I was reminded that I hadn’t shared one of the exceptional gardens that I visited last spring. So here ’tis, before the year is out.

Bourton on the Hill, Gloucestershire, near Moreton in Marsh and Stowe-on-the-Wold (don’t you love these charming names, so typical of the Cotswolds), is an exquisite treasure. Starting with the fine 1700s stone manor house, which (a bit surprisingly) sits right on the street. I loved it from every angle.

Another surprise? This is actually a new garden, created over a 20 year period in the 80s-90s.

Love the sculpted hedge running through one of the long herbaceous borders.

A fool for topiaries, I found many opportunities to stretch my imagination, not just in the shapes but how they are used as landscape features…here, rather than one uninterrupted hedge, individual clipped sentinels, with peaked centers, separate one garden area from another (you’ll see this design repeated again).

and a way to draw your attention to a feature to be admired (the 16th century tithe barn).

Bourton House’s only 3-acre gardens impress and inspire with the sophisticated plant selections, texture and color.

One luxuriant terrace is bordered by an 18th century raised walk providing lovely views of both house and garden, and the Cotswolds landscape beyond.

The serene white garden boasts two pairs of standard white lilac trees. Note how the clipped shrub centering the stone wall mimics the arch design of the seating area in the above image (and an earlier image).

There are several spring fed features, one of which includes a knot garden centered with an intriguing raised stone basket from the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Privately owned, but graciously opened for garden visitors, Bourton House Garden is truly a delight for dedicated plantsmen/women, or one aspiring to be. In 2013, a walk was opened in the 7 acre field opposite the garden and an impressive list of specimen trees have been added for the visitor’s pleasure.

Next week, I’ll be sharing images of London at Christmas, which from press images I’ve seen, promises to be a timely trip. Can’t wait…

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

6 thoughts on “Back to the Cotswolds: Bourton House and Garden

  1. Oh, anticipation…just like a “child waiting for Christmas”…London during the holidays!! What incredible gardens…wouldn’t a plantsman just look forward to work every day?! Thanks for the “get-away!” franki

  2. I’m not envious of your upcoming London visit because we will be spending a few days there before heading to countryside for Christmas. After many years of truly awful holiday decorations, the Brits have switched to more tasteful, traditional private home decorations in Mayfair and Chelsea. Hope you get to do lots of walking. May you and your Parterre garden have a healthy and happy 2023. VA

    1. Hi, I thought of you so often on my Cotswold trip…as you know, I stayed at Buckland Manor. ADORED it!!
      and now will think of you in London. Wasn’t it GORGEOUS this year?!? We walked our legs off; my friends Apple watch had us at 14,000 steps a day…Ye Gads!! Merry, Merry and Happy, Happy. Can’t wait to hear about your English countryside Christmas (where are you staying???). xB

  3. December 2, 2022 at 9:47 am
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
    I’m not envious of your upcoming London visit because we will be spending a few days there before heading to countryside for Christmas. After many years of truly awful holiday decorations, the Brits have switched to more tasteful, traditional private home decorations in Mayfair and Chelsea. Hope you get to do lots of walking. May you and your Parterre garden have a healthy and happy 2023. VA

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