Design, In the Garden, Living with Style, Travel Notes


Postcards from the Cotswolds

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It has been 3 long years since I’ve traveled in in the English countryside. With each cancelled flight, my disappointment was assuaged by losing myself in the happy details of refining this garden trip–in anticipation of when the day came. It was time well spent! From the quintessential country house hotel outside Broadway, Buckland Manor (above) and…

to identifying an excellent driver (Uber is seldom a presence in the small towns and taxis are few), everything was perfection. And very festive, given the bunting in honor of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Enjoy my “postcards,” capturing the high notes of a dreamy 10 days–many are images that I’ve longed to capture in person, like the famous laburnum walk at the late Rosemary Verey’s “Barnsley House,” where we stopped for tea. Lucky us, the laburnum was indeed in bloom. Don’t you love it paired with the purple allium?

Or the NY city block long herbaceous borders at Miserden.

Our days, of course, included taking the backroads through the iconic little villages (i.e. Bilbury, Upper Slaughter, Bourton on the Water, and Chipping Camden) where the ever-present climbing roses cloak the soft golden yellow Cotswold stone houses.

By late May, the tulips have passed and we were treated to the tall spikes of lupine, alliums, and digitalis (a favorite shown off so well in the feature image) accenting every garden, be it a herbaceous border or formal parterres.

And long lines of blue Bearded Dutch iris distinguished the edge of a potager garden at Upton Wold.

The measure of a successful garden trip is the list of new plant discoveries that you bring home. Topping my list is the rose Souvenir de la Malmaison! I had heard of this beauty but had not enjoyed the opportunity of seeing…and smelling it…in person. Never, ever, has my nose been treated to such a scent! I was giddy with delight. Despite the fact that the gardener at Rockcliffe mentioned that the plant has a reputation for lack of winter hardiness (USDA zone 6) and doesn’t like rain, I will throw caution to the wind and risk disappointment. Aaah, what we do for love.

See you next week for “Lessons Borrowed from Cotswold Gardens.” You’ll love some of the unusual sources of inspiration taking center stage.

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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".

11 thoughts on “Postcards from the Cotswolds

  1. “David Austin”…are they?? Their beauty almost…hurts… How can they be?? I could look at them for hours on end. franki

  2. Having been hit by a car in NYC on June 01st, bound to my bedroom for the foreseeable future to recover knowing I will miss the rest of spring and summer with no garden visits of my own, your glorious garden photos cheered me up. Thanks for sharing your beautiful journey.

  3. Bettie, your photos are a wonder. I often think, when enjoying a favorite Private Newport post, that there could never be another one as stunning– and (happily) I am always proven wrong! Your pictures of the Cotswold gardens took my breath away! . So inspiring. thanks

  4. I feel as though I have made the trip after all. Your postcards are so lovely, I feel as though I could smell a thousand delicate scents that accompanied the walks.The Iris- one of my favorite flowers- thick and luscious along that wide border had me marveling at the sheer richness of it. The Souvenir de la Malmaison Rose might be happy here as it NEVER rains. I am so content just looking at your as ever fabulous photography over and over.

  5. A gal in my garden club has a hedge of Souvenir de la Malmaison and in spite of our high humidity and copious amounts of rain it’s flourishing! It will do well in your gorgeous garden. Love your ‘Postcards’.

  6. Bettie__- weren’t you concerned about foreign travel in the height of Covid, etc.? Do tell. Tx. Richard

  7. Bettie – So glad that Buckland Manor didn’t disappoint. Your pics were beautiful and make me envious – especially having spent a pretty cold, wet, windy spring in Newport. But your garden at Parterre should be lush and green! xox Virginia

  8. Wonderful Bettie !! Your postcards as ever are sublime and put us right in the scene.
    And gosh I’d love to know about your future garden trips, if you’d like some company…! xox Frances

  9. OHHHHHH…..Just what I was waiting for, Bettie ! Your gorgeous photos put us all front and center in your travels and brighten our lives. Thank you for taking us to the Cotswolds 🙂

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