Highgrove the estate of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales. In this book, Highgrove: A Garden Celebrated, The Prince shares his experiences in planning and creating the gardens at Highgrove over a thirty-year period and reveals his feelings about gardening, sustainability, and the environment. You may get a whole new feeling about the Prince and the problems he faced by reading this interesting account.
When Prince Charles bought Highgrove in 1981 the exterior of the house appeared stark and severe and had virtually no gardens. The grounds were the remnants of a parkland with some large trees and the old walled garden was rundown and overgrown. Prince Charles changed both the house and grounds to reflect his taste, and his gardening ideals. The result was the creation of several different gardens including Lily Pool Garden, Lime Avenue, Wild Flower Meadow, Stumpery, Kitchen Garden, Arboretum, Azalea Walk, Sundial Garden, Terrace Garden, Thyme Walk, Cottage Garden and Carpet Garden.
The book is organized by months so readers start their visit to Highgrove in January and proceed through the year visiting the various gardens as they contribute to the overall beauty of the estate. The author relates how each garden developed from an idea to a reality, the successes, the failures, and the changes that were made along the way. We learn about the old York flagstones that were dug from their ordinal site and reused in the Sundail Garden, the unique design of the chicken house that confuses deer and foxes, the use of green hay to increase the diversity of wildflowers in the meadow, and the fate of the tree house built for the two young sons of Prince Charles when the tree died a year and a half later. In another area, an oak pavilion was built as an epitaph to an old cedar that grew sickly and had to be removed. Another interesting facets of the Prince’s gardening is the way he incorporates into his garden the many gifts he receives including trees and shrubs, bulbs, chickens, and statuary. Prince Charles’ keen appreciation for plants is comes to light as we read about his collection of magnolias, his choice of delphiniums, and his love of hostas.
The text is richly illustrated with photographs of the Highgrove gardens in different seasons and give the reader a sense of the gardens throughout the year. After reading the book I felt that I had been privy to visiting the Highgrove and learning about all its treasures. The many stories about the gardens and their creation gave an intimate feel to the text and portrayed The Prince as real person and earnest gardener.