36. Painswick Rococo Garden
Situated outside the beautiful Cotswold town of Painswick, and famous for its snowdrop display, the Rococo Garden is a fascinating step back to a flamboyant and sensual period of English garden design, when gardens were almost theatrical sets used as a backdrop to decadent garden parties.
This gem of a garden of more than six acres, which was originally laid out in the early 18th Century, is set in a hidden Cotswold valley with magnificent views of the surrounding countryside.
Painswick House was built in the mid-1730s by Charles Hyett. Following his death shortly after the house was completed, his son, Benjamin, created the fanciful garden in a hidden valley behind the house.
Benjamin Hyett asked local artist Thomas Robins to paint the garden in 1748. Without this wonderful representation we would have had no idea what the garden looked like originally as in the 1970s it was an overgrown jungle.
It was during the 1970s that garden historians became very interested in the period of garden design between 1720 and 1760 and they named the period Rococo.
They encouraged Lord Dickinson, a descendant of Charles Hyett, to begin an ambitious programme of work at Rococo Garden which started in 1984.
In 1988 he handed control of that programme to Painswick Rococo Garden Trust, which was granted a long lease of the garden.
The wonderful display of snowdrops in late winter and early spring creates a veritable carpet among the trees of the woodland areas.
Traditionally, villagers were allowed to enter the gardens one day each year to pick the snowdrops. Nowadays the flowers are for viewing only!
Although Painswick Rococo Garden is renowned for its fabulous snowdrop display, it is magical at all times of the year.