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      July 2012 > From Perdition to Paradise

From Perdition to Paradise

During the first Battle of Ypres in the First World War, among the many casualties was a British Officer, who was shot down by enemy fire and thrown on a heap of corpses ready for interring in a mass grave.

As the burial party began their grisly task the officer in charge noticed this particular body twitch and groan. He was immediately rushed to hospital and made a miraculous recovery.

Lucky for him - and lucky for us, as this man was Lawrence Johnson who went on to create the magnificent gardens at Hidcote Manor in the Cotswolds.

Last night, BBC 4 aired an hour-long programme exploring how this man, son of an American socialite, went from being a career soldier to design and create the gardens at Hidcote - but if you missed it, you can watch it here on BBC i-player. He had his mother's vast wealth to support his dream, though her aspirations for him were rather different. She bought Hidcote and the surrounding farmland so that her son could become an English gentleman farmer and gain acceptance among the upper echelons of British Society.

The programme follows his progress as he developed the garden and his ideas - how he was influenced by landscape architect, Thomas Mawson; and how he undertook many trips around the world seeking out new plants in an effort to outdo his horticultural rivals. In 1948, he donated the house and gardens to the National Trust, and so if you are ever in search of the ultimate Cotswold Treat, the paradise he created at Hidcote is not to be missed. Johnson is buried beside his mother in the churchyard at Mickleton, where our walking holiday in the Cotswolds starts.

Posted: 03/07/2012 07:29:19 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: heritage, nature, UK

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