The restored gardens at Hill Close, Warwick, offer an extremely rare opportunity to visit sixteen hedged Victorian pleasure gardens, which capture the planting and personalities of their original owners.
The plots are very varied and individual, as would have been the case more than a hundred years ago. Generally there is a mixture of flowers, fruit – such as apples, pears, plums and soft fruit – a grassed area and a range of vegetables, mostly heritage varieties seldom seen nowadays. Artists experiment with different materials to represent the Victorian era in another plot.
The Victorian-styled glasshouse is used to raise plants for the garden and for selling in the nursery. In the summer there is a display of exotic plants such as Hedychiums, Eucomis and Pelargoniums. A small Auricula theatre was erected in 2009 to display these lovely plants. It was replaced by a larger brick theatre in 2019 and displays unusual plants throughout the year.
Hill Close Gardens has an extremely wide range of horticulture with many rare and ‘at risk’ plants, particularly in Plot 17 and the glasshouse. Every year, many different cultivars are offered or received under the Plant Heritage plant exchange scheme for ‘at risk’ plants.
This project contributes to conservation of plant diversity of cultural and economic value.
Changes with the seasons …
Hill Close Gardens offers a changing face throughout the year. There are snowdrops in February … fruit tree blossom and Victorian daffodils in spring … annuals, sweet peas and roses follow in the summer … and the many varieties of asters and chrysanthemums give a late burst of colour in the autumn. Flowers take the high ground earlier in the year, but vegetables and fruit come to the fore in many gardens later in the year.
Something for everybody …
Local historians are fascinated by the information on families who once occupied the gardens. Visitors can use the touchscreens in the newly extended Visitor Centre to see if their relations once gardened there. Children of different ages can follow special trails and find out about the biodiversity in the gardens. Gardeners discover interesting and rare plants and fruit, and an inspirational mix of kitchen and decorative plantings. Others simply find peace and tranquillity as they explore the gardens and summerhouses.
Our Visitor Centre which is environmentally friendly in design and structure, has recently been extended to give visitors their own dedicated space with all the information they need to enjoy their visit. There are self-service drinks and simple snacks. At weekends, the Tea Room has a more extensive range of refreshments, including locally sourced cakes, and cream teas. To take home a memento of the visit, there is the opportunity to buy garden-themed merchandise as well as plants, seasonal produce and fruit grown in the Plant Nursery.