In The Magazine

Secret Garden

Thursday, May 21, 2015
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The Prince of Wales is famous for his love of nature and organic farming, and in Bunny Guinness’s new book, Highgrove: An English Country Garden, His Royal Highness gives readers a glimpse into his treasured garden, which is the culmination of more than 30 years of work, dedication and passion. Each chapter explores the details and intricacies of this unique place and the changes and effects each month of the year has on them. Readers will gain insights into Highgrove and all the work, decisions and craftsmanship behind it. Below we give excerpts that describe three of the garden’s most beautiful features: the Carpet Garden, the Kitchen Garden, and the Thyme Walk.

Carpet Garden
“In the heat of the summer, a visit to the Carpet Garden is rather like stepping into an exotic, foreign location as you are greeted by bold hot colours, heady perfumes and gently trickling rills and fountains . . . this hidden, secret garden has been laid out according to a favourite Turkish carpet of Prince Charles’s. It has a traditional chahar-bagh, or four-fold design, and at the heart of the garden (or carpet) there is a raised fountain which sits in the centre of a Moroccan-inspired, scalloped, marble bowl . . . Chelsea show gardens are created to be dramatic and shine for six days, but this garden has been developed so that it now gives pleasure for many months of the year.”

Kitchen Garden
“The Kitchen Garden is one of the most sensational and beautiful gardens at Highgrove in late May and June. Although it is predominantly a productive space there are many ornamental plants and structures within its walls too. The central herbaceous borders full of blues, pinks and purples and the ornamental planting that is intermingled with the fruit trees around the bases of the walls pull in beneficial insects and add to the ambience. The inclusion of flowers for decoration, the strong design and the organic nature are all contributory factors that make this one of the finest kitchen gardens in the country.”

Thyme Walk
“Apart from its rarity, the Highgrove Thyme Walk is even more exceptional because of its dramatic scale and the broad range of different varieties of thymes used. The fine, fragrant pathway runs west from the Terrace Garden towards the Dovecote for about 95 metres, and is composed of a mass of pillowy thymes, from the highly prostrate varieties to some that are more buxom and bushy. Although slightly scented all the year round, the cushions of pinks, purples, yellows, limes and greens are at their most aromatic from May to July, when they are in flower . . . Adding yet more weight and a similarly sculptured effect to this strong sight line are the pleached trees, which frame the outer edge of the garden. These ‘frames’ are made from double lines of hornbeam trees that now look sturdy and mature, structural yet elegant.”
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