November 5th, 2018 / posted by paularath

One of the nicest things about living in Lower Heyford, Oxfordshire, is that you can walk to Rousham Gardens in less than half an hour.

Jerry and I love these gardens, and visited them several times. Unlike many of England’s more famous gardens, these are not at all commercial and remain totally unspoiled. There’s no tacky tea room and no gift shop! And we had Rousham all to ourselves.

The view of Rousham House from the bridge on the road to Lower Heyford

Rousham House was built in 1635 by Sir Robert Donner, and it’s still owned by the same family. The architecture is Jacobean.

The gardens are often a pilgrimage for landscape architecture students because they were created by William Kent (1685-1748), who is considered the father of English landscape design. Fortunately, the gardens remain almost exactly as he left them.

The formal gardens lead to the pigeon coop.

Rousham House is seldom open because it’s still occupied by the family, but the gardens are open every day. It costs just six shillings to go in and it’s on the honor system. There’s a big bushel of apples inviting you to take some home.

A view from the side of Rousham House

Sustainability is clearly important at Rousham and the gardens include many apple trees, as well as vegetables and herbs galore. There is an entire greenhouse just for the tomato crop.

An abundance of pears grow up the side of the pigeon coop.

There are interesting ponds, porticos, groves, streams and cascades scattered around the property, as well as classic Greek style statues of gods and goddesses. A herd of Long Horn cattle graze in the park.

But it was the flowers that captivated me the most, especially the dahlias.


Dahlias were in full bloom


The rose garden


I love these beautiful little passageways to secret gardens.


Wow! What a color!

Now that’s a hot pink!

Dahlias come in such delectable colors!

I love kids. I really do. ( I even have one of my own.) But it’s nice to know that Rousham Gardens does not allow kids under the age of 15. It’s a place for quiet contemplation and perhaps a picnic lunch. Silent and serene.

Paula Rath

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