Three generations of women have shaped the gardens at Kiftsgate, from Mrs J.B. Muir in 1918 to her granddaughter, Anne Chambers, who looks after them now.
Sydney Graves Hamilton built Kiftsgate Court in 1887 and Mr and Mrs J.B Muir bought it from him in 1918. Before they moved in, there was only a small formal garden. Mrs Muir made a lot of changes to transform the gardens at Kiftsgate, adding steps and rose borders, including a rambling white rose, Rosa filipes ‘Kiftsgate’, said to be the most rampant rose in Britain. Later, in the 1930s, they added a summer house, tennis court and yew hedge, inspired by friend and designer Major Lawrence Johnston. However, her planting and planning is more ‘organic’ and less formally organised than Major Johnston’s style. In 1954, the Muir’s eldest daughter, Diana Binny, moved to Kiftsgate with her husband. She too put her own stamp on the gardens, building water features like the well in the white sunken garden, which has a well head from the Pyrenees. Then in 1981, Anne Chambers moved in with her husband and continues to look after the gardens, which include a sunny lower garden (complete with swimming pool and views over the Malvern hills) and a water garden on the site of the old tennis court. It’s not covered in plants like the borders; rather, it’s in a minimalistic style, in black, white and green, with gilded bronze leaves floating over the rectangular pond.
Click here for our interview with Anne Chambers.