The Red Borders and Gazebos
There are many important views at Hidcote and there are some which just make you stop in your tracks and admire your surroundings. For me one that did just that was the view that greeted me on my first visit as I made my way round the side of the house into the Old Garden. There I was delighted to find that I could see garden room after garden room and two beautiful Gazebos peeking through the planting.
Standing in the Old Garden you can look past the Cedar, into the Circle and onto the Red Borders. Here the Gazebos wait at the top of the steps up to the Stilt Garden where the vista finally comes to an end at Heaven’s Gate with its spectacular views over the countryside.
The red brick Gazebos stand proudly at the top of the steps leading some 1.2 metres above the Red Borders. Lawrence Johnston built this area of the garden during his second phase (1914-1920) as he moved away from the typically Arts and Crafts style and embraced a more classical approach.
A place to recuperate
It is quite amazing that Johnston was able to achieve what he did during the second stage of his garden development given that labour and materials would have been in short supply. The movement of earth to raise and level the Stilt Garden would have been quite immense. The Gazebos although small and simple in design fit perfectly in the landscape and are an integral part in the long view through the gardens.
The second stage of Johnston’s garden development occurred when he was recuperating following an injury he sustained during the First World War. The ceiling and cornice in the north gazebo has retained Johnston’s original hand painted decoration. The Gazebos are a really significant feature of the garden but they also have a very practical use, they provided shelter and a place to rest.
For me this is a crucial part of a visit to the gardens as you sit in the middle of two very important views. The Gazebos define a crossing point in the garden and are a space to take shelter and gaze out across the garden rooms. The first view is the one from the Old Garden and the second is the view down the Long Walk. It is quite spectacular and draws you out towards more amazing views of the landscape.