One of our summer hobbies, on lazy days, is visiting gardens. Sometimes these are village gardens, but more often they are the gardens of stately homes. Highnam Court is a 17th Century country house (which isn’t open to the public), surrounded by formal and informal gardens.
The house was built in the 17th century, in place of an earlier building damaged in the Civil War. Wikipedia has more details.
The formal rose beds are one of the attractions of these gardens, but most of the roses are old fashioned varieties that only flower once. I have visited once before, several years ago, but that was in September when most of the roses had finished flowering. This time, although some had not come fully into bloom, there were flowers aplenty. The arched gateway in a tall garden wall was a welcome sight when we arrived.
Most of the formal flower beds are surrounded by box hedges a couple of feet high, with yew bushes clipped into cones, like this rose bed.
The south side of the house looks over lawns descending gently to one of several lakes. There is a huge rose garden laid out here, in a circular pattern, with box edging round the beds. Here, some of the curved beds have ropes strung on high poles for the climbing roses to trail along. When we visited, the roses were clothing the pillars, but had not yet made their way along the ropes. In a few weeks it should be spectacular indeed!
As well as the rose gardens, there are wide sweeps of lawn with trees and clumps of shrubs, two large lakes, complete with lillies, and a woodland area with more small lakes. Well worth a visit if you are in the area on one of their open days.
As a bonus for me, in addition to the glorious sunshine, I think the house itself might be the inspiration for the house in the story I am currently working on, although mine will not be quite as big (although Highnam Court isn’t particularly large if you compare it to some of the famous stately homes of Britain).