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Waddeston – not my style of garden but …….

We went to Waddeston by default! We were planning to visit another garden in Oxfordshire, but as we got close we decided to check the details of the garden, especially how to find it. The trouble was the garden details also showed that we were visiting on a day when it was closed. Oops!!

Plan B quick! Luckily we found another garden literally a mile from where we had parked up to get directions to our original destination. From the description in our book, the garden at Waddeston did not sound my style of gardening but the architecture of the house itself sounded interesting. So we decided to go and have a look.

We arrived to discover Waddestonto be an architecturally fussy building in the style of a French chateau. I admired it but didn’t like it. Jude, the Undergardener liked it a lot.

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There were lots of fussy little details in the building, such as this ornate gate post.

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The gardens close to the house were very formal similar to the bedding schemes found in our town parks. Too bright and again too fussy for my liking.

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But this one bed was interesting as the colours were far more subtle. It turned out that this border was based on ancient lace work from the house.

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Walking a few minutes from the house into the more informal areas of the garden we came across a real surprise, a very ornate terrace of aviaries housing rare birds. These birds were being bred with the intention of building up species numbers and reintroducing them back into their natural habitats.

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Further from the house away from the formal gardens there were small cameos which interested me more.

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So, although I was unsure when we arrived at Waddeston, I will now admit that I did enjoy the visit. Even though I found the rigidity of the formal bedding schemes with their gaudy colours unpleasant, I can see that they were well executed here.

By greenbenchramblings

A retired primary school head teacher, I now spend much of my time gardening in our quarter acre plot in rural Shropshire south of Shrewsbury. I share my garden with Jude my wife a newly retired teacher , eight assorted chickens and a plethora of wildlife. Jude does all the heavy work as I have a damaged spine and right leg. We also garden on an allotment nearby. We are interested in all things related to gardens, green issues and wildlife.

7 replies on “Waddeston – not my style of garden but …….”

I’ve been here to and know what you mean about the style- ‘high victorian’ seems to capture it I think! Still, it’s all extremely well done, including the large formal beds and the diamond- trained climbers on the house walls. a minor point, but you might want to check your spellling of the name- i don’t think it has a ‘t’ but rather another ‘d’ 🙂

Although I am a cottage gardener myself, I do love to look at your formal gardens. It sends my mind racing as to the plan they used, what quantity of plants it took to achieve the end result, and how many gardeners does it take to maintain it. These are beautiful and the ‘lace’ is gorgeous. Wow.

I used to work up and down this stretch of the country and visited some of the farms about in a not very fun time at the tail end of the BSE crisis.
So it was nice to have an escape to visit such a place on weekends. I loved how completely over the top Waddesdon was and how the flamboyant garden matched the ornate manor. At least the English could distance themselves from such eccentricity as the work of ‘new money’ – must have startled the neighbours at the time.
My girls always loved the effusive colours in the garden and the fairytale quality of the house. Oddly the ‘French neo-rennaisance’ style was a little familiar from our last hometown in Bendigo which has – on a smaller scale – wildly romantic architecture – also built from the new rush of wealth in the mid 1800s.

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