It's ages since I put a slideshow together and sorting through the dozens of pictures I took on my recent visit to Hanham Court, I feel this is the best medium to convey a sense of the place. Lavish planting requires a lavish presentation! Hover over the image if you'd like to look at anything for a bit longer - I suspect you'll want to with this wonderful garden. My SUP friend S arranged a trip there a couple of weekends ago, having first visited in May and raved about how lovely it was. She's not wrong.
This is the first year the garden's opened extensively to the public, though it has been open under the National Gardens Scheme in previous years. Architecturally, there's something from almost every century since the Norman conquest and at one time the house was part of Keynsham Abbey. This influence can be seen in a number of the found objects used in the garden.
In 1993, the celebrated garden designers Julian and Isabel Bannerman decided to make Hanham Court their home. Since then they've undertaken a number of notable commissions, including Prince Charles' stumpery at Highgrove, Arundel Castle and the British 9/11 memorial in New York. All this and an extensive restoration of their house and garden into what you can see today. I can't vouch for the house - though you can stay there - but the gardens do reflect their noted voluptuous, romantic style.
Happily, the tea, coffee and cakes served in the Loggia are also generously portioned, just like the garden. There's still time to visit this year: Hanham Court is open weekly at 11.00 am to 4.30 pm on Friday through Monday until Monday 31st August inclusive.
Update - Sept 2011: The Bannermans have now sold Hanham Court. Whether it will continue to be open to the public remains to be seen.