Monday, 11 March 2013

Buscot Park - a house and garden filled with surprises- home to Harold Peto's best British water garden

Buscot Park is home to Harold Peto's water garden, added at the turn of the 20th century
Buscot Park has some unusual surprises in store for the visitor, including one of the finest water gardens in Britain, created by Harold Peto when the first Lord Faringdon acquired the property. The house is still administered by the Faringdon family on behalf of the National Trust and houses one of the most impressive private art collections in England. But it's the 62 acres of parkland and pleasure gardens that will interest garden lovers because this is a real hidden gem in Oxfordshire.
Ponds and pools draw you down through Peto's water garden to the lake at Buscot Park
Harold Peto was employed to design the water garden here at the turn of the 20th century, and has left the nation with a legacy typical of his Italianate style. It's discreetly hidden at the rear of the house and is a really artful design, which draws your eye down a stone-edged canal, opening into a series of pools adorned with sculptures and bridges and dressed at the edges with stark and immaculately clipped hedging. But its real function was to link the house to the lake, regarded as a vital part of any 18th-century landscape garden.
The neo-Classical mansion at Buscot Park is still home to the Faringdon family
Stand at the top and your eye is drawn down the sloping canal to a pavilion on the far shore of the lake below, while the lowest point at the edge of the lake affords a view of the fine stonework and the impressive steps leading to the neo-Classical mansion. The Faringdon art collection contained within includes masterpieces by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Rembrandt, Rubens, Rosetti and Gainsborough, but the garden is a masterpiece in its own right.
The former kitchen garden at Buscot Park has been transformed into an ornamental garden
To the west of the house is a very different landscape, in what used to be the kitchen garden, but skilfully re-designed to provide colour and interest throughout the seasons. It's now known as the Four Seasons walled garden because it has been transformed into an ornamental garden divided into four quadrants, with an ornamental lily pond at the centre. Pleached hop hornbeams have been planted along the long east-west axis of the garden and a David Harber faux waterfall added to give an impression of scale.  
Replica Chinese terracotta warriors in the grounds at Buscot Park
Elsewhere in the park, notable features include the pleasure gardens adjacent to Peto's waterscape, and an army of life sized Chinese terracotta warriors (above) - 17 in all - exact replicas of those found at Lintong, Xi'an in China, which come as quite a surprise when you first encounter them.  Buscot Park opens at the end of March (check opening times here, as house and garden are not necessarily open together). Admission is £8.00 for adults inside and out, £5.00 for gardens only, but free for National Trust members.
Although Buscot Park is in Oxfordshire, it's geographically really close to neighbouring Gloucestershire. Other notable gardens in the area include Rodmarton Manor - one of the finest Arts & Crafts gardens in the country - and for William Morris fans - Kelmscott Manor, which is literally just down the road, is a must see.

3 comments:

  1. I am so inspired by the trees on the property. It looks like a scene from heaven. What a beatiful, beautiful garden. Wow! I am so glad you share these visits with your readers. I am collecting quite a list of places to visit the next vacation to England.

    Susan

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  2. Such a lovely and stunning garden! Thank you for sharing this with us. Have a great week!

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  3. Beautiful photos! Thanks for the mini vacation!!

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