A garden behind a high wall is a tease and a challenge and we all wish to go inside and satisfy our curiousity.
The cult and illusion of exclusivity is a wonderful marketing ploy. The garden behind the high walls and locked gates is the one we all want to see but £24.50 will turn the key in the Highgrove Garden gate and allow you curtailed, guided, supervised and restricted access to the gardens – no photographs allowed, stay in line and do be respectful, please!
I am only making fun – to some extent – as I feel the Prince of Wales Highgrove Gardens are an example of the most wonderful self-promotion and people are almost literally breaking down the gates to get in to see the gardens and be funnelled through the shops and restaurant to maximise their spend. Access is restricted, numbers are limited but, please, let your spending be without restraint on our beautifully labelled “Highgrove” this and “Prince of Wales” that.
However, and very importantly, it must be said that the gardens are wonderful, delicious and a joy to behold and that the Prince of Wales seems to be a most enthusiastic and knowledgeable gardener and promoter of the values of sustainability, conservation, organic farming and general good care of our planet – all in all a good chap.
Now, if you are not already booked in for an individual tour or a group tour or even the “Champagne Tea Tour” you can take a peep over the garden wall through Bunny Guinness’ book “H.R.H. The Prince of Wales Highgrove: A Garden Celebrated” which lavishly described and illustrates the garden throughout the year in a month by month approach with each month introduced by a note from Prince Charles, text by Bunny Guinness and photographs from Marianne Majerus (always fabulous!), Andrew Butler and Andrew Lawson. From January to December it is a feast for the eyes and, although the text is well written, comprehensive and informative, it is the photographs which carry the narrative along so wonderfully. So, if you cannot get to visit this season I highly recommend the book as the next best alternative.
[Highgrove, A Garden Celebrated, Bunny Guinness, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2014, HB, 240 pages, £35, ISBN: 978-0-297-86935-1]