Before visiting Pettifers Garden, I stopped to see Rousham House and Gardens in Oxfordshire. I am also hoping to include Rousham in next year’s tour. Rousham Gardens’ reputation preceded my visit. It is arguably one of the finest gardens in England. Rousham remains a private garden and was surprisingly quiet, especially as compared to another landscape garden we visit, Stourhead, which is owned and operated by the National Trust and had hundreds of visitors when we were there last week. I saw perhaps 10 visitors at Rousham and felt as if I had the garden to myself for the morning.
Rousham is an excellent example of an Augustan age (early 18th century when British artists emulated the original Augustan age in Rome 27 BC-14AD) landscape garden and was designed by William Kent (1685-1748). It is recommended to follow the circuit walk, drawn up prior to 1738 by the head gardener, John MacClary. My photographs follow the circuit which takes the visitor around the perimeter of the garden through a series of water features, statues and follies.
Rousham House and Gardens is still owned by the same family that created it and remains precisely as Kent envisioned. The brochure for Rousham says it all: “Rousham is uncommercial and unspoilt with no tea room and no shop. Bring a picnic, wear comfortable shoes and it is yours for the day.”
Rousham House from the Bowling Green
The view from the house with central statue made in 1740.
The Lion and the Horse by P. Scheemaker
The Octagon Pond
The Upper Cascade with a statue of Venus
The Watery Walk
The serpentine rill in the Watery Walk is elegant and feels contemporary even today
The octagonal Cold Bath
Temple of Echo by Kent and Townsend
View of the house; the ha-ha can barely be discerned
Statue of Apollo
Heyford Bridge 1255
The reverse view of Apollo through The Long Walk
The Lower Cascade with the Upper Cascade above
The ancient hedges that separate the Bowling Green from the Walled Garden
The Walled Garden predates the work of William Kent
The formal Pigeon House Garden