Shortly before it closed for the season, we made our way to the Painswick Rococo Garden. Described in my guide book as a rare example of a flamboyant garden style prevalent in the mid 18th century, and only about a 30 minute drive away, it was a perfect, easy day out. A winding drive through narrow Cotswold villages and tidy farms, a few heart-stopping turns up and down one-way streets and we were there. Parking is free, in an open field near a stone walkway to the Garden entrance, and the Gardens are also along a well-marked walking path. In the shop/entry, the kids were urged to select any toy they wished from a small metal bucket — score one for the day out! Small mdf planes and butterflies assembled, we were off to explore.
I immediately dropped right through reality and in to the fantasy world the Rococo Garden is meant to create.
This is the “Beech Path”, the signs for which the kids unfortunately read a little too quickly, and they ran off screaming ‘the beach! the beach!” At the end of the path is a purposefully odd and romantic castle playhouse, which cheered them up considerably. I was busy once again looking for fairies.
Continuing our walk, under and through a rose arbor that must be stunning in bloom.
A stroll up the hill through the kitchen garden — which is still kept as a working garden and provides food to the Garden restaurant. I wanted to stand in the herb garden and just …. inhale it all.
I get excited about fruit. Can you blame me? Look at the blush on that pear! You can’t tell from the photo, but these pears were enormous.
At the top of the hill, the Exedra, with its beautiful pond. (Yes, I had to look it up.)
Overlooking the maze — “250” — where we wandered down almost every lane, looking for treasure or satyrs or whatever magics we could find.
It would be easy to spend hours wandering here. There are places to sit with a picnic or, of course, the Coach House restaurant. It was not very crowded and the kids could run and explore all the secret waterspouts, hidden statuary, surprise plantings, or just rocket through the grass. We were still living in the basement when we visited, so the spacious sunshine was particularly welcome.
View out from inside the Red House. If I could live there, I would.
Another dash down the hill before it’s time to go.
It’s been bittersweet to visit so many sites just as they are closing for the winter. I find the gardens gorgeous now as they fall in to slumber. But I can see all the green world already dreaming of blooms and blossoms in the spring and summer. This corner of England is so beautiful I want to wander here through every season — I can’t wait to return. In the meantime, I’ll follow the garden blog.
*Song of Solomon 2:12 The flowers have appeared in our land … the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land