Painswick Rococo Garden in Gloucestershire is the place to head if you are looking for sweeping expanses of snowdrops in an historical garden setting. A charitable trust, the garden is set in a valley with far reaching views to the Cotswold hills beyond.
The garden has been restored and re-created over the last 30 years using a 1748 painting by Thomas Robins which depicted the garden in its 18th century glory.
Painswick’s main features are the rococo structures dotted around the landscape providing focal points and destinations at the end of woodland paths. The Exedra, above overlooks the valley and the Red House features unusual stained glass windows (pictured below) and is currently home to a colony of Lesser Horseshoe bats roosting in the roof (although we didn’t spot them).
Of course the snowdrops are the main event at Painswick at this time of year, carpeting the woodland walks beneath trees and beside the gentle stream flowing down into the valley. Amidst the snowdrops I spotted this charming sculpture cut into a dead tree trunk depicting a Schloss Neuschwanstein – (fairytale castle to you and me) – the creation of a chainsaw artist.
Painswick is famed for one particular variety of snowdrop, Galanthus ‘Atkinsii’ – a taller than usual variety which was named after a snowdrop grower from the 1800s called James Atkins who lived on the estate. Visitors can purchase these snowdrops in the shop to take home – what better souvenir could you ask for?
There is a small tea room and gift shop manned by volunteers. Some of the produce grown in the vegetable garden within Painswick is used to make the food served here. All money received goes directly to the Trust. Painswick is not only famed for its snowdrops and visitors can enjoy the bluebell wood in late spring. Painswick hosts a number of events throughout the year including an Easter Trail in April and Shakespeare performances by ‘The HandleBards’ in July. Full details can be found on the Painswick website www.rococogarden.org.uk
This blog post has been updated to compliment the article written by me in the February 2018 issue of The English Garden magazine. The photographs in the magazine are not by me, they are by the far more talented Clive Nichols. www.clivenichols.com