One of my first ventures out into the countryside was by suggestion of Richard Sutton, presently the Head Gardener at Little Compton Manor, to visit the house and gardens of Sezincote near Stow-on-the-Wold. While this garden seemed to peak the interest of many, no one I spoke to had managed to get there. Admittedly, Sezincote is open two days during the week, and occasional Monday, for a mere 3 hours per day, so it retains an illusive nature.
Driving amidst the endless fields of sheep and rapeseed, typical of the Midlands, I soon found myself at a small junction with a modest sign, and seemingly unrelated building, flanking a narrow wooded lane. I turned in, only mostly sure I was in the right place, and proceeded to drive down the lane for what seemed like ages, making me question whether I had indeed taken a wrong turn. But then, past rolling, sheep speckled hills and over broad oaks and chestnuts, a glimpse of the large pinnacle of the Indian-style house peered through and disappeared again in the distance. It instantly created intrigue, wetted the imagination, and transported you from the familiarity of the English countryside, so a place much curiouser.
The exotic estate is further exagerrated by the curved orangerie, containing a suprisingly spacious cafe, adorned with jasmine vines and a lounge area.
This garden has caught my interest in it’s unique style as well as its hide-and-reveal entrance, the best I have experienced thus far. The winding country lane, through thick tree cover and opening up to proper fields and distant views of the house certainly harkens back to Repton landscape ideology. The gardens themselves are no less interesting, with fountains, ponds, and follies. While in a beautiful state now, the horticulture will surely improve leaps and bounds over the next few years as new Head Gardener, and former Longwood International Student, Greg Power, settles in and applies a well versed hand.