About the garden
Any time is a good time to visit Hill Close Gardens as there is so much to see throughout the year in these 16 hedged town gardens situated between the town centre and Warwick Racecourse. It is an opportunity to experience what was a very common horticultural feature in Victorian times, when many towns had similar detached gardens on their boundaries. These were owned by the tradesmen who lived in the town centres, often above their businesses.
Only four examples of this type of gardens remain. The others have been subsumed by urban sprawl. However, the efforts of an energetic and knowledgeable residents association, which in 1994 obtained Grade II listing on four of the summer houses and later Grade II* for the whole site, prevented the houses being built on the site. A great restoration took place in 2005, transforming a totally overgrown and neglected site to that which we see today.
These gardens differed from allotments in that there was a rich diversity of fruit trees and soft fruit, flowers and exotic vegetables and lawns as well as summerhouses or wooden shelters. This diversity is maintained so that each plot or garden has its own individuality, with a wide range of flowers, perennials and annual. The vegetables vary, often with heritage varieties being grown alongside the most recent introductions. In addition to the 80 different varieties of historic apple and pear trees, more than 10 different varieties of rhubarb are grown.
There are four borders of special interest: the Victorian Border where only plants grown in Victorian times are to be found; the Rare Plant Border supported by Plant Heritage and used for the conservation of rare plants at risk; the Bulb Border; and the Chrysanthemum Border with the National Collection.
A new interpretation room for visitors is being developed for 2020.