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Painswick Rococo Garden gearing up for busy year

Gloucestershire South > Entertainment > Attractions

Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Friday, 20th December 2019, 09:00

The gardens' famous Red House The gardens' famous Red House

The Painswick Rococo Garden has a vast and storied history.

It’s the UK’s only complete surviving rococo garden – rococo being a period of art and design popular in Europe in the 18th century – and is one of the area’s most popular attractions.

“The house was built in 1730,” explained Head Gardener Roger Standley, “by Charles Hyett, a lawyer from Gloucester who wanted to get away from the city to improve his health.

“When he died his son Benjamin Hyett inherited the grounds and built the rococo garden and all of the follies and buildings in it.”

At its peak the garden featured an orchard, vegetable patches, a pigeon house and a plunge pool fed by a nearby spring, amongst many other features.

Over the years the grounds gradually fell into disrepair with many of the original buildings being lost to nature and the elements.

Roger continued: “Lord and Lady Dickinson acquired the grounds in the 50s and then garden historians started taking interest in it in the 70s, and by the 80s they had persuaded them to start restoring it.

“The only real records of the original garden we have is a painting by Thomas Robins from 1748, so we’ve been working to accurately depict that.”

Many of the most iconic parts of the gardens have been restored, including the famous Red House, but work is still ongoing to develop areas of the garden.

A brand new visitor’s centre has just been given planning permission, and a vineyard has also recently been replanted.

“We’ve also planted around 60 to 70,000 new bulbs over the last two years,” added Roger.

“The snowdrop season in our woodland area is one of our most popular attractions, but finishes in February, so we want to add daffodils, tulips and more.”

When it comes to events, there is plenty going on in the gardens.

Claire Barnes, Marketing Manager, explains some of the highlights of last year, and what to expect in 2020.

She said: “Last year was fabulous, we had our highest number of visitors ever.

“We had outdoor theatre performed by the Handlebards, sculpture exhibitions, our Easter Children’s Trail, and of course our brilliant snowdrops.

“This year we’re hoping for even more, we’ve got some big plans – including more art installations and a painting competition in the summer.”

Painswick Rococo Garden reopens for 2020 on Saturday 11th January.

For more information, visit www.rococogarden.org.uk

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