Design, In the Garden

Westbury Court

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

While hours of careful planning go into my personal garden trips, I always welcome the bit of serendipity that inevitably comes along (via a chance conversation in the local apothecary near my hotel). This trip it was Westbury Court, in Gloucestershire, the only surviving 17th century Dutch water garden in the United Kingdom. A small, charming creation elegant in its open layout, clipped evergreen shapes add a cadence and order to the property that provides a sense of calm.

Having a great fondness for garden follies, I was first attracted by the garden’s centerpiece, a tall pavilion dramatized by the seemingly mile long canal (actually 450′) that stretches in front of it (the architectural style of the pavilion and the layout and siting of this water feature qualify this property as Dutch-inspired).

Once part of a large estate, this garden and its surrounding grounds are all that remain, a rare survival not to have been replaced in the 18th century by a naturalistic garden landscape as popularized by Capability Brown. In 1967, Westbury Court Garden became the first complete garden restoration undertaken by the National Trust, sourcing the detailed archival material and engraving of the original from 1707. It is this material that has provided the treasure that I enjoyed last May ’22. The evergreen pyramidal shapes (above) are repeated throughout, as in the path to this charming brick garden room.

and its jewel-of-a-garden.

Note to self…do follow through on creating a free standing arbor of honeysuckle.

Many plants now grown are authentic to the period and style of the garden. The recreated vegetable plots are now growing actual 17th century varieties; some of the fruit varieties even date back to Roman times.

The oldest evergreen oak (Holm) in England is to be found close to the pavilion and near the orchards. Extending on low-lying water meadows adjacent to the River Severn, the flat watery ground makes the site well suited to a Dutch-style garden.

A neatly clipped meadow leads down to the River Severn, it’s paths just wide enough to accommodate a stroll.

Their creativity in presenting information (as opposed to a paper handout) immediately prompted thoughts of how to add versions of these clever ideas to Parterre’s gardens.

The Westbury Court Garden we enjoy today was restored to capture how it would have appeared at its best in 1720. And, somewhere along the way, the pavilions second floor, one room interior was given an eye-popping faux paint finish that really added a finale to our day…as did the view from this magical room.

Aaaaah, so many gardens, so little time.

If you enjoy this article, please share it!
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".

5 thoughts on “Westbury Court

  1. Bettie…What a delightfully different and unique garden…a real treat for all of us…Thank you for adding Westbury as an unplanned gem to your schedule !

Comments are closed.