Pictures Of Hestercombe Gardens In Taunton, Somerset

Pink shrub roses around Hestercombe's Arts and Crafts garden
Pink shrub roses at Hestercombe

Hestercombe’s celebrated Arts and Crafts style garden is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of garden design who finds themselves with time to spare in Somerset. 

White standard roses at Hestercombe Garden
White standard roses (tree roses) grow in square holes in the lawn

The estate dates back at least to the 11th c. and has been furnished with a 16th c. manor house, and an 18th c. pleasure garden of woods, follies, pools and cascades running through hills and valleys, but the Edwardian garden is its crowning glory.

Of course, the true test of an English garden is whether its constituent parts have atmospheric names. Daisy Steps, Chinese Seat, Great Plat, Valley of Cascades, Gothic Alcove, Temple Arbour, Witch House, Mausoleum and Grey Walk all attest to Hestercombe Garden’s greatness. 

If further supporting evidence was required (which it is not), Hestercombe could claim connections with members of the aristocracy, Glastonbury Abbey, Sir Edwin Luytens in partnership with Gertrude Jekyll, and Copelstone Warre Bampfylde. The latter was an amateur garden designer who had the pleasure of owning Hestercombe and was well-connected, numbering Henry Hoare of Stourhead amongst his chums.

Hestercombe courtyard with pots, herbs and flowers
Sunny, mediterranean-style paved garden with lavender, roses and stachys

On our visit early in July 2019, we found Hestercombe Gardens well tended and peaceful, almost frozen in time, were it not for the flowers and children playing on the lawn outside the Orangery.

A stretch of lawn with a bench at the bottom and daisies along the edge
The Orangery lawn has an oval centrepiece and is loosely edged with erigeron

Hestercombe’s Orangery is Grade 1 listed as the finest surviving Sir Edwin Lutyens building of its type, and is still used over the winter to shelter orange trees. I particularly liked the decorative lawn laid to the front of it, in the gaps between the paving stones.

The garden’s expansive vistas are of the type that linger in the mind.

A sunken garden with four quadrants
Sir Edwin Luytens’ Arts and Crafts design is elegantly partnered by Gertrude Jekyll’s planting

The Lutyens/Jekyll garden seems highly formal today, although when it was originally planted, Jekyll’s painterly combinations of hardy flowers were as liberating and free spirited as one could be while remaining on the right side of accepted good taste. 

Blacksmith style handle, latch and bolt on an exterior door
Traditional handle, latch and bolt

As so often, the quality of a garden is seen in its details. Throughout Hestercombe, the visitor will find beautiful, classic touches – a statue, terracotta pot, wooden planter, water feature, bench, paving, pergola, scenic nook or balustrade.

Stone fish overlooking a Lutyens-style garden bench
The garden has many finely judged decorative features

What I’ll remember most is, strangely, the erigeron, whose dainty daisy flowers appeared to great effect along the pathways and stone steps.

You’ll find plenty of information on Hestercombe’s website and elsewhere on the internet, so I’m not going to go into too much detail here. 

I was sorry not to get a decent shot of the arbour that runs the whole length of the Arts & Crafts garden, and we didn’t catch the climbing and rambling roses along it at their height of flowering, so I’ll rely on you to let them tumble in your imagination.

Traditional stone building with zig-zag topiary hedge
Hestercombe garden shop

As you see, it was a hot and sunny day with barely a cloud in the sky, so we ended our visit with ice cream from the tea room. Only a small cone each, honestly! There was just time for a lingering look back at the zig-zag topiary hedge before we set off on the next stage of our trip.

Those who love Arts and Crafts gardens might enjoy my post about York Gate Garden, near Leeds.

30 Replies to “Pictures Of Hestercombe Gardens In Taunton, Somerset”

  1. Okay, I know the garden and its plants and flowers are the main characters here but what really caught my attention was the door or gate latch. I marveled at the simple functional design. I was also intrigued by the design on the bar that actually holds it shut. The X with the dimples in the open spaces of the X and the parallel, off-center, diagonal lines look like a die that had been struck poorly or a piece of abstract art. 🙂

      1. I would not grow them if I needed to do so inside. Orangeries are too excellent to clutter with citrus trees anyway. I would want to grow small plants and show off the architecture.

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