Oxfordshire's Glorious Gardens
By: Tourist Information Centre. 12 June 2011
Oxfordshire has some of the most glorious, varied, historic and interesting gardens in Britain - just what you'd
expect for a county of rolling green hills, stately homes and honey-coloured stone buildings.
There are formal gardens, clipped and tamed, in awe-inspiring settings as Blenheim Palace where fountains sparkle
and dance on the Water Terraces. Or Oxford’s Botanic Garden's Rose Garden, amid trimmed yew hedges, commemorating
Florey, who developed penicillin.
There are exuberant herbaceous borders - a speciality of Oxford - on show at Magdalen College, Christ Church,
Rhodes House and the Botanic Garden as well as at Waterperry Gardens.
On a grander scale the landscaped glories of Capability Brown's Blenheim Park or William Kent's Rousham and
Shotover evoke a bygone era of leisure and wealth for the privileged few.
Gardens form a wonderful setting for exhibitions - such as the Chapungu sculptures from Zimbabwe at Waterperry
Gardens - and for events such as Art in Action and the Blenheim Battle Proms.
Smaller, private gardens have their glories too - sometimes on show for Britain in Bloom or through the National
Gardens Scheme. And throughout the county people work their allotments - each creating their own special, edible
Oxfordshire still boasts several orchards - Waterperry's produces fresh apple and pear juice of named varieties -
from the tangy to the mellow-sweet.
And plants flourish indoors too - Newington Nurseries breed and raise their own magnificent orchids - at their best
in winter when gardens outside have been 'put to bed'. The Oxford Botanic Garden's glasshouses are a treasure-trove
of plants all year round.
An excellent way to visit Oxford's gardens is with an Official Walking tour booked through the Tourist Information