Visit to Highgrove May 2015

Dot Howe reports:

Twenty-six members enjoyed a very interesting guided tour around the beautiful gardens of Highgrove. The visit started with a short introductory film made by Prince Charles, which gave an insight into his ideas behind the design and layout of the gardens, which transformed the original parkland surrounding the house, into the many varied areas that now exist.

The gardens now include the original Walked Kitchen garden, which supplies fruit and vegetables to the house and restaurant, The Cottage garden, the Arboretum, where there is a magnificent bronze statue of The Daughters of Odessa, The Winterbourne garden, which as it suggests has a stream running through, the Sundial Garden, the Stumpery, made up of old tree stumps, the Thyme walk, the Meadow and the Terrace garden, to the side of the house. Within the gardens there are also several small buildings and ornamental structures, including William and Harry's tree house.

We finished with a light lunch in the restaurant, and looked around the sourvenir shop, most members came home with at least one plant.

Visit to Faringdon House 11th May 2015

Dot Howe reports:

A group of 24 visited Faringdon House on a beautiful sunny day and where we were met by the current owner Sofka Zinovieff, who inherited the property and land from her grandfather. Although the house was not open to the public, Sofka kindly allowed us into the fine entrance hall and through the house onto the raised terrace after giving us a brief history of the property. The house and terrace are both elevated giving one of the best views in Oxfordshire looking across the Thames valley.. At the end of the walled lawned area in front of the terrace is a ha ha.

Andy, the gardener who has been looking after the garden for thirteen and a half years joined us and gave an excellent guided tour.

The garden is split into a number of areas providing a surprise around every corner. We commenced a walk through a woodland area leading to a splendid view of the house with box hedge in abundance. A walled garden followed with the path leading under an arch of Wisteria in full bloom. A further area with raised vegetable beds and greenhouses stocked with tomatoes and bedding plants.

Through a heavy gate we were presented with what at first looked like a folly but in fact was a very ornate, raised and hidden swimming pool. On to the Orangery and pond surrounded by a quiet sitting area.

We finished our tour with a meander through fields down to the lake which we understand is well stocked with fish and a large area of water lilies which will no doubt give an excellent display in summer.

A thoroughly enjoyable visit

Pictures courtesy of Keith Diment