12th - 15th June 2017
John and Brenda Foster arranged a packed itinerary from Monday 12th June through Thursday 15th June, staying over the three nights at Tewkesbury Park hotel.
Leaving from Notcutts, by special dispensation because we behave ourselves, and stopping only briefly at Birchanger on the way, lunch and the first visit were provided by Farleyhill Place Gardens, originally the vegetable plot for the house up the hill, bought five years ago by the present delightful owners, who have renovated the site and grown some lovely plants.
The hotel was set in a golf course, had wonderful views and we were looked after by young, mostly foreign, very cheerful and competent staff. Mrs Overall, who served us on the last evening turned out to be a lovely lady.
Driven by Alisdair, on Tuesday we visited Bourton House, where the garden was tended by obviously competent gardeners, showing unusual plants, well grown in lovely surroundings.
In the afternoon we visited Kiftsgate, which needs no introduction, but had an interesting variation in levels and planting.
Sezincote House, on Wednesday, was John's surprise for us. A private house, built in the Moghul style, with a beautiful orangery and furnishings. The immediate garden was in the same style. I have a photo of Colin and a large baby elephant. Colin is the one in the green shirt. The rest of the garden was English landscape and contained an extensive range of beautiful trees, well disposed in the surrounding valley.
In the afternoon we went to Hidcote, just as well known, though completely different from Kiftsgate, although a near neighbour. The poor level of customer care by the National Trust raised it's ugly head, on this occasion with till failures because they were fitting new ones - on a visitors' day.) This was a very warm day.
In the evening some of us played croquet, and Colin was severely bruised. Linda won.
We left on Thursday morning, first visiting Rousham Park, which was a most beautiful place, with formal gardens and traditional lawns and water. Another of John's gems!
We had a surprise last visit, which John had had to change at short notice, and visited Ascott House, a Rothschild home, looking old, but quite new, with interesting interior decor and an interesting collection of Oriental ceramics. Thus was also run by the National Trust, and whilst they kindly provided us with a sandwich lunch, the house was unaware that they should expect a coach party!
Good weather and a lovely, friendly group completed the holiday.
With heartfelt thanks to John and Brenda for taking such good care of us. Here's to next year!