ENGLISH GARDENS, GREAT AND SMALL
Thank you again to Dirk and Inger. A fabulous experience.
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Some of the greatest Palaces and public gardens in the world are in England – and we saw many of them during AIS’s annual tour, June 24 – July 2, 2011. We also be visited several private gardens, including that of Dirk and Inger Laan.
Some of the sites we visited include:
Hampton Court Palace has grown from humble beginnings in the 11th century to one of the finest palaces in the world. King Henry VIII, Cardinal Wolsey and Queen Elizabeth I all lived there. Inside you can visit the Tudor kitchens, the lavish State Apartments and England’s greatest medieval hall decorated with the Gobelin tapestries that date back to Henry VIII at a cost that consumed almost 10% of the Gross National Income. In the 60 acres of gardens you will see a Tudor knot garden and the world’s most famous hedge planted maze. You won’t get lost in the maze if you know the trick (always keep turning right).
Great Dixter Gardens were created in 1910 by the English architect Sir Edwin Lutyens in the manner of cottage gardens on a grander scale. The gardens are set in the grounds of the manor house, first built in 1220. See the fine topiaries and a magnificent mixed border. The gardens and home were owned by well known gardening author and lecturer Christopher Lloyd.
Royal Horticultural Society’s Garden, Wisley is a Mecca for garden lovers with its rock gardens, herbaceous borders, formal and walled gardens, a country garden created by Penelope Hobhouse and long borders by Peit Oudolf. This is where trial collections are grown to compare, assess or simply to admire. Wisley Garden holds the British National Collections of Crocus, Colchicum, Epeimedium, Hosta and Pulmonria. The huge shop has the largest selection of new gardening books in Britain (and quite probably the world).
Sissinghurst was once a splendid mansion built in the mid-16th century. In the 1930’s it was purchased by Vita Sackville-West, a poet and novelist and her husband Harold Nicolson, an historian and biographer. Together they made a garden which reflects their different personalities, Harold was a classicist while Vita was a romantic who favored profusion and surprise. It was Vita who devised the inspired planting schemes and carried out the work. The garden is in fact a series of some ten separate gardens all delightfully different. Don’t miss the famous “White Garden”. Also don’t miss the story of their turbulent relationship. Great gossip.
Fishbourne Roman Palace was discovered by accident during the digging of a water main trench in 1960. A sumptuous Palace was found to have been built at the time of the Roman invasion in A.D. 43. Outside, the northern half of the formal garden has been replanted to its original design as discovered by excavation with plants known to have been cultivated by the Romans. Don’t miss the entertaining audio-visual program.
Loseley Park is one of the private gardens we will be visiting. It has over one thousand old-fashioned rose bushes, including bourbons, gallics, rugosa, moss and damask, all framed by long, low, box hedges.
Denman’s is the home and garden of John Brookes who has designed over 1000 gardens during his 50 year career. He has been kind enough to invite us to have lunch in his garden. His awards include four Gold Medals from Chelsea Flower Shows He is a prolific author, and has written 24 books and also runs a design school in Argentina.
Longer End Cottage is a 1 ½ acre garden divided into rooms with a wide variety of plants, shrubs, roses, gunnera, grasses etc. There is a knot garden, laburnum walk, wild flower meadow, folly and small stumpery. You’ll have to find out what a stumpery is when you get there.
Walnut House, is the home of Dirk and his landscape designer wife, Inger, who are our hosts for this trip. Their garden is one of contrasting moods, leading the visitor through a shady fernery into a large water garden with two fountains reflecting light from the open sky. There is a romantic flower garden with unusual plants, a Pergola, greenhouse and raised decorative vegetable/flower beds.
Photos: Rachel Cobb
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