Rockcliffe, Gloucestershire

A mellow Cotswold stone house sitting handsomely in surrounding parkland is most likely to be high on many people’s list of ‘dream house & garden’ combinations. Situated near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, the garden at Rockcliffe is open only once or twice a year and is well worth a visit.

The grassy steps leading up to a domed dovecot flanked by bird shaped topiary are almost iconic and have been featured on many an Instagram shot!

On an adjacent hillside, mown paths lined with box hedges enclose a wildflower meadow brimming with oxeye daisies & dotted with magenta roses. Sorbus trees planted here will offer marvellous autumn colour.

Set in a small valley between the house and wildflower meadow is the walled potager, dominated by smart wooden fruit cages and white gravel paths bordered with Espalier peach trees.

To the rear of the house, an expansive York stone terrace bursts with Summer splendour – roses, lilies & foxgloves provide loose colour & scent amongst the clipped box domes. The smooth expanse of lawn beyond is edged with beech pyramids culminating in a simple statue by Nigel Hall.

Yew buttresses & expansive planting

Beyond the house, an overflowing pink and purple border is contained within yew buttresses beside another immaculate lawned area framed by espalier limes.

Secret garden

2 secret gardens nestle behind ball topped yew hedges where the pink and purple theme continues in one with lavender and roses whilst the other is a triumph of white and pastel cottage style perennials.

Canal pool amid pleached limes

Directly beside the house, a canal pool is sheltered by six Cornus controversa variegata, also known as the wedding cake tree. This attractive pool with a bathing Brahmian bull languishing in the water is set in a grassy rectangle surrounded by irises and foxgloves.

The canal pool with the Brahmian bull

It was an absolute joy to finally visit this iconic garden. Having read about it in so many books and magazines it was magical to experience it in real life!

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