Hidcote Manor Garden is one of England’s great gardens. It was the life’s passion of one man, self-taught gardener Lawrence Johnston who created his ‘garden of rooms’ here.
The creator of Hidcote (it’s his statue you are looking at!)
Lawrence Johnston was born in Paris of American parents. He came to England to study at Cambridge University.
After graduating, he fought for the British Army. He was so badly wounded in the First World War that he was laid out for burial. His colleagues realised that he was still alive only after he moved slightly.
In 1907, Johnston’s mother, Mrs Gertrude Winthrop, bought the Hidcote Manor Estate. Johnston came to live at Hidcote and soon took to gardening.
Developing a masterpiece
Johnston spent 41 years creating what would become one of England’s most influential 20th-century gardens. He began work in 1907, becoming interested in making a garden out of the fields surrounding the house.
The garden was developed in the fashionable Arts & Crafts style: a series of outdoor ‘rooms’ offering surprises and discoveries at each turn.
By the 1920s, the transformation was well under way. Johnston employed 12 full-time gardeners to help shape his 10-acre creation. He always took advice and read extensively on the work of eminent gardeners, such as Gertrude Jekyll.
‘A garden of rooms’
Johnston designed Hidcote as a series of outdoor ‘rooms’, which combine sensuous masses of colour with traditional garden crafts such as topiary. Each room has its own distinct atmosphere and character.
The hedges that divide the rooms sprung up due to the plot’s exposed aspect. Johnston planted hedges of holly, beech, hornbeam and yew for shelter and structure.
As well as a gardener, Lawrence Johnston was an accomplished plantsman. The range of plants he used was huge.
In a never-ending quest, he secured rare and exotic species by sponsoring and taking part in plant hunting expeditions. Trips took him to the Alps, Kenya and South Africa. He also plant-swapped with the Australians and the Japanese.
The expeditions introduced over 40 new plants to cultivation in the UK, many of which bear Johnston’s name. He was awarded three Awards of Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society for his plant hunting achievements.
The National Trust learns to garden
In 1948, Lawrence Johnston retired to Serre de la Madone, his home on the French Riviera where he had created another spectacular garden.
Hidcote Manor Garden came to the National Trust, the first property acquired specifically for the garden.
While carrying forward the spirit of Lawrence Johnston, Hidcote has changed over time since the 1930s. Lack of funding has led to areas of the garden becoming overgrown and many of Johnston’s tender plants being replaced.
‘This place is a jungle of beauty. I cannot hope to describe it in words, for indeed it is an impossible thing to reproduce the shape, colour, depth and design of such a garden through the poor medium of prose’
We Seriously Recommend You Take Just a Few Moments to Read This Before You Buy Your Garden Shed…
You Might be Very Glad You Did!
When it comes to choosing the best garden sheds for your garden, whether it is for storing gardening equipment, the children’s bikes and toys or for your household tools, there are a few things you absolutely must take into consideration before you make your final choice.
1. What is the garden shed for?
The most important thing you need to decide is what you will mainly be using the shed for. Is it just for storage, or do you intend to use it as a potting shed, a playhouse, or as a workshop perhaps? This is important not just for estimating the size of the shed required, but also from the perspective of adding extra windows, or a veranda such as those found in garden cabins. Be sure to consult with the other members of your household, just in case they have other plans for using the shed that you may need to take into consideration.
2. Will the shed fit?
Once you have a fair idea of what the shed is for and whether you need to add any extra features, you can estimate the size required. Measure your garden, and the location where you intend to put the garden shed. Mark out the area and check it carefully to see if there are any potential access problems, or whether the shed will block the light from important areas of the garden and home, such as near a window. Always check the measurements as if the door of the shed is open to make sure you can get things into and out of the shed without problems. Have you left sufficient room around the shed to be able to get around it for inspection, maintenance and lost toys…!?
3. What size do you need?
Of course this will depend on how much room is available in your garden. Many modern houses have small back gardens and you will not want to take up any of this precious room with large sheds. In these cases you should opt for a neat, small size shed where possible. However, do bear in mind that the amount of stuff that people tend to store in their garden sheds tends to be far more than they first anticipated, so unless you are constricted for room, it is better to choose a size that is bigger than you originally think you need. This is particularly relevant if you have a family, or a large garden. Simply by upgrading your lawnmower in a few years you could require a lot more extra room, not to mention the odd bike or two….
4. What finish is the best choice?
The wood used in the construction of the garden sheds can vary depending on how the timber is treated. There are various options available. The most common choices are
Rustic & Rough: This is where the wood is in both untreated and unplanned and has a rough finish. These sheds are usually the cheapest choice, but will need regular maintenance.
Smooth Finish: this is untreated wood which has been planed smooth for a more attractive finish. These will require treating with preservative every year or two to prevent decay.
Pressure Treated: This is where the wood use to construct the garden shed has been pre-treated with wood preservative under pressurized conditions to force the preservative deeper into the wood fibres. These sheds are obviously slightly more expensive than untreated wood sheds, but more than pay for them in both financial and practical terms as they require very little maintenance to preserve them from rot and decay, the main causes of sheds falling into disrepair in Ireland.
5. Who is going to build it?
That’s often the hardest question to answer. It might be that you are the kind of person who likes to give up their precious free time and spend their weekends trying to put together the bits and pieces from the plans. Perhaps you have friends or relatives you could enlist, who might know what they are doing, but beware the enthusiastic “amateur expert”. The best option is to deal with the professionals. You can choose garden sheds suppliers who also includes assembly as part of their service. That way they come with the right tools for the job, the entire structure is up and finished in a few hours, ready for you to use with no fuss or effort on your part.
There are“No Hidden Extras” atShopping4ShedsDirect.ie.
We SUPPLY, DELIVER and ASSEMBLE ALL OUR GARDEN SHEDS, so that you don’t have to worry about a thing!
“TheWidest Choice and theBest Value Garden Sheds in Ireland!”