Overlooking the Cotswolds area of outstanding natural beauty, the American Museum & Gardens is located on a hilltop with spectacular views over the Limpley Stoke Valley. Set in 125 acres of rolling green topography, the Grade II-listed gardens feature 2.5 acres of formal gardens, which were renovated in 2018 by US garden designers Oehme, van Sweden (OvS).
The grounds include the New American Garden, the Mount Vernon Garden, and the Children’s Garden, as well as an arboretum and parkland. Named for OvS’ hallmark style, the New American Garden has sweeping lawns and vistas, and large garden vignettes that embrace the aesthetic of the American meadow, with a profusion of colour, texture and movement throughout the year.
Thousands of bulbs create a stunning spring show, and in summer wide swaths of prairie-style perennials, planted in bold blocks, create a dramatic display. Ornamental grasses are a key feature of the garden, with more than 30 cultivars uniting the expansive borders. In autumn, the prairie-style planting has beautiful colour and texture, along with a range of trees, among them several American specimens, in the garden and arboretum.
The Mount Vernon Garden is a reproduction of the 18th-century Upper Garden at George Washington’s estate in Virginia, with its shield shape, white picket fence, historic seed hut and planting. Updated in 2017, in response to a new interpretation of the historical plans, there are four box parterre, ornamental planting, fruit trees and productive edible borders.
Remnants of the old Italianate-style manorial pleasure gardens and parkland, dating from the 1820s, can be seen within the grounds, including period features such as a grotto, balustrade and curtain walling, and ornamental stonework.
RHS member admission:
Free access (member 1 only for joint memberships) applies Wed when open, plus Thur 9 Mar – 30 Jun and Sep–Dec.