This historic property is widely regarded as the most accomplished house and garden to come out of the early 20th century garden & landscape partnership between Edwin Lutyens & Gertrude Jekyll. In 2009 we were invited to produce a new landscape design masterplan for both the gardens and surrounding landscape, to move the gardens successfully into the 21st century.
The historic garden framework provided the foundation for a programme of revival that saw the existing hard landscaping and original gardens painstakingly restored. The gardens had been through many iterations over the years and Jekyll's original designs had been overwhelmed, overgrown or insensitively replaced. So the plantings to the Flower Parterre, Sunken Pool Garden, Entrance Courtyard and Barn Courtyard were not preserved or re-made, but reinvigorated and reinterpreted using a contemporary palette of plants which reference Jekyll’s aesthetic and interest in colour theory, but feature a range of plants that would have been unavailable to her 100 years ago.
Where the original scheme was designed as a series of inward-looking hedged gardens, a new entrance drive from the south now embraces the surrounding landscape and creates a more integrated union between garden, grounds and landscape. The arrival sequence captures a rural sense of place following a line of ancient oaks, passing a new wildlife lake then following an historic watercourse which has been extended and now runs the length of the garden’s western boundary. The lake is set in newly seeded wildflower meadows that provide a heart to the outer parkland. New roundels of trees further animate the meadows and entrance drive.
The 1 acre Walled Garden, for which no design was developed in Lutyens’ time, has been brought into self-sufficient production. A new configuration of paths divide the garden into areas for annual vegetables, perennial vegetables, herbs, a rose garden and an annual cutting garden. The borders that frame the garden contain wall-trained and soft fruit, shrubs, stock beds and propagation areas for the ornamental gardens. A number of pergolas with espaliered fruit and vines balance the weight of new buildings beyond the walls and provide places for summer entertaining.
There is a commitment to improving the ecology and biodiversity of the site, so the design and management of the grounds aim to maximise the available range of habitats. Summer meadows that are grazed out of season run into new native woodland plantings which wrap the site to the south and west causing the boundary to blur into foreground views of the grounds with snatched views of the landscape beyond. Good craftsmanship and the original Arts & Crafts ethos of working closely with artisans ran throughout the project and the working parts of the garden were considered equally as important as the ornamental.
Photographs: Jason Ingram
2009 - ongoing