Highgrove is the private residence of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, established in 1980. This was one of the gardens I was most excited to see as I am a fan of English gardens as well as British royalty! I would be remiss not to mention Tetbury in Gloucestershire. It is story-book lovely; a perfect representation of the quaint area known as the Cotswolds, complete with centuries old churches, like St Mary the Virgin which dates back to at least the 7th century!
As we arrived in London and toured the Chelsea Physics Garden, we met a lovely woman named of all things, Virginia, I knew she would not steer us wrong. She mentioned that the Highgrove estate has been improved by “a woman’s touch,” referring to the Duchess of Cornwall, whom you may catch a glimpse of smoking on the balcony, alas, we did not. We were however greeted by machine gun toting security detail.
We were ushered into a receiving area, along with a myriad of British garden ladies, complete with paintings done by HRH and tasteful family photos and given the rundown of rules, including no pictures. I was immensely disappointed, but pictures don’t do it justice anyway. You really must see this estate in person. Any pictures included in this post have been obtained from authorized areas or the internet, except in the case of the guard, who probably was unaware of his picture being taken.
There are 10 garden rooms, each reflecting a deeply personal interest or experience all done with a staff of highly trained gardeners with an organic approach. One of my favorites was the stumpery, which was in fashion in Victorian times when collecting items was an art that needed to be on display.
Simply put, the woodland setting was home to a host of carefully placed stumps, from around the estate with ferns, mosses and other shade-loving plants. This is also the home to William and Harry’s childhood tree house.
There is a remarkable kitchen garden with espaliered fruit trees, a wildflower garden, and a topiary-studded thyme walk among others.
All the garden rooms contained an essence of sentimentality. The statues, quotes, and themes are all based on Prince Charles’ travels and cherished relationships.
We ended our tour in the Carpet Garden. This garden room was inspired by a colorful Turkish carpet inside the home. It incorporates the elements of enclosure, shade, perfume, water, and geometry to give a feeling of being in paradise.
We ended our visit to Highgrove in true British fashion by partaking in afternoon tea. It was a lovely way to end a fantastic experience.