THE HIGH LIFE

Prince Charles planted High­grove three decades ago. To­day it stands as one of the world’s great gar­dens and is lov­ingly cel­e­brated in this se­ries of pho­to­graphs cap­tur­ing its sea­sons

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - LIFE & STYLE - Words pene­lope de­belle

AF­TER 34 YEARS, Prince Charles is proud of his gar­den. This gor­geous book com­mem­o­rates the ma­tur­ing of plans he laid as a young man three decades ago. This is the kind of gar­den you can achieve when money is no ob­ject. It forms part of the High­grove Es­tate, bought in 1980 by the Duchy of Corn­wall and used in ear­lier times by Prince Charles and the Princess of Wales as a weekend house.

These are for­mal, metic­u­lously planned ar­eas, all with their own theme.

The Sun­dial Gar­den is a pas­tel ar­ray of mainly herba­ceous plants with a spec­tac­u­larly sculpted yew hedge sim­i­lar to one planted by the late Queen Mother at San­dring­ham. The cir­cu­lar sun­dial is gen­tly re­flected in the curved beds sur­round­ing it.

Like all grand es­tates, it is also pro­duc­tive. There is a de­light­ful Kitchen Gar­den pro­tected by an or­na­men­tal brick wall that traps heat for the veg­eta­bles, trees, tun­nels and fruit-pro­duc­ing ar­bours.

There is a cer­e­mo­nial el­e­ment to many of the plants. An av­enue of lime trees – ar­ranged in a her­ring­bone fash­ion so they don’t trap each other’s roots and light – was planted in 1994, the gift of the Princes’ Coun­cil of the Duchy of Corn­wall. In 100 years it will be a vir­tual wall of wood.

The gar­dens are dot­ted with iron and stone seats with ar­eas de­fined by mag­nif­i­cent sculp­tures, such as The Daugh­ters of Odessa in mem­ory of the chil­dren of the Tsar of Rus­sia mur­dered at the start of the Rus­sian Revo­lu­tion in 1918. Some of the gar­dens have a cen­tral foun­tain or pond, in­clud­ing the or­nately curved lily pond at the top of Thyme Walk where the wa­ter level is kept high to al­low birds to drink from the sides.

The Prince’s taste for top­i­ary is ev­i­dent, with man­i­cured hedges form­ing borders and back­drops and fol­lies. His taste for trash and trea­sure is also on show; set into the In­dian Gate are beau­ti­fully carved, stud­ded doors dis­cov­ered by a road­side in Jodh­pur.

The mag­nif­i­cently pho­tographed book chron­i­cles the gar­dens through the sea­sons, from the bleak ar­chi­tec­ture of win­ter through to the sweet spring flow­ers in the Wild­flower Meadow and the heavy flow­ers of sum­mer.

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