Kiftsgate Court sits majestically perched on Glyde Hill with stunning views over the Cotswold’s village of Mickleton and the Vale of Evesham. The garden is the result of three generations of women gardeners, passing from mother to daughter since the garden was first created in the 1920s by Heather Muir. It is perhaps most famous for its fabulous roses, including the Kiftsgate Rose; a scented climbing rose considered to be the largest rose in Britain at 24m x 27m x 15m (80’ x 90’ x 50’) in size.
Kiftsgate Court was built in 1887 by Sydney Graves Hamilton who owned the large manor house in Mickleton nearby. The front Georgian portico of Mickleton Manor was transported to Kiftsgate Court to use as the façade using a specially built light railway which travelled up Glyde Hill. The remnants of the railway line can still be seen today.
KIFTSGATE COURT GARDENS
In 1918, Mr and Mrs Muir bought Kiftsgate Court and undertook considerable internal alterations. Once completed, Heather Muir turned her attention to the gardens. The original gardens included a paved formal garden in front of the portico, with a grass field beyond this and wooded banks on the hill.
First, the portico garden was planted with soft plantings to make the formal layout relaxed and inviting. The grass field beyond was then converted into an avenue of lawn; flanked either side by herbaceous borders including the rose border and the yellow border which teems with contrasting foliage and an array of blue, yellow and orange flowers.
In 1930, the steep Glyde Hill banks were tackled. The result is a lower garden containing a summer house and winding pathways that sit intertwined with trunks of the tall Scotch firs, originally planted in the 1750’s by the then owner of Mickleton Manor. To this was added a swimming pool by Diany Binny, Mrs Muir’s daughter, in the 1960s as she set to make her own mark on the gardens.
More recently, current owner Anne Chambers, converted the tennis courts into a wonderful water feature which provides a lush, green and peaceful haven from the floral ebullience beyond its surrounding yew hedge.
Undoubtedly, Mrs Muir benefitted from her close relationship with Major Lawrence Johnston, the owner of famous Hidcote Manor next door. Plants, knowledge and inspiration were exchanged between the two neighbours who bonded over their mutual love of gardens. The result of this collaboration can still be seen today with the many lesser-known plant varieties that remain in the garden.
Kiftsgate Court Gardens remains a favourite garden of many of our guests. Each successive owner has remained true to its original design, while also adding a few of their own personal touches. This has resulted in a romantic and delicate garden with a sense of history and permanence. And all with a woman’s deft touch.
We visit Kiftsgate Court on our Cotswold Gardens in Colour tour in 2021.
For information on all of our current tours please click on the link:
Image credits: Eliza Ford