Not until after the fact–during it, really–did I realize how gratifying it would be to have a bunch of landscape architecture students come for a visit.
Jeff Charlesworth had asked if I’d mind if he brought some students from a class he teaches at Delaware Valley University in nearby Doylestown, Pennsylvania, to visit the garden, to sketch, to talk.
I hope it got them a little bit interested in bridging the gulf so often found between landscape architects and garden makers.
Jeff said they enjoyed the experience.
I think I heard the word “mysterious” used.
I hope so.
Autumn is a glorious season in the garden. I took this photo in the gravel garden at Chanticleer last weekend. I like complexity (not chaos; there is a difference). This teeters on the edge, but I think the striking forms of the Yucca rostrata and Agaves and trailing blue-gray ground cover make a strong, legible statement against the tapestry of clashing autumn colors. The golden early morning light makes it work. The contrast is shocking, but evocative of sense of place, in this case, Chanticleer, where you learn to expect the unexpected.
Recently I discovered an intriguing blog, The Brown Advisor, in this case referring to “the great landscape gardener, or place-maker, Lancelot ‘Capability Brown’.” I quote this from the blog, quoting Joseph Addison:
“‘Words, when well chosen, have so great a Force in them, that a Description often gives us more lively Ideas than the Sight of Things themselves. The Reader finds a Scene drawn in stronger Colours, and painted more to the Life in his Imagination, by the help of Words, than by an actual Survey of the Scene which they describe. In this Case the Poet seems to get the better of Nature; he takes, indeed, the Landskip after her, but gives it more vigorous Touches, heightens its Beauty, and so enlivens the whole Piece, that the Images which flow from the Objects themselves appear weak and faint, in Comparison of those that come from the Expressions.'”
Think about it. It sounds odd to us, enmeshed as we are in a highly visual age.
The photo is of the lake at Blenheim, made by Capability Brown.
I call this the Edgar Allan Poe season in my garden …
“I’ve always been drawn to plants which are on the wild side, drawn to gardens which are on the wild side, which feel like they might just be tumbling into something quite primitive and unmuddled with. The way I garden is to let things go almost to the brink of being lost, and that’s often quite a frightening thing to do.”
Dan Pearson, BBC Desert Island Discs interview February 2015
While I was fortunate to meet and spend several happy hours with the owners and the gardeners of The Old Rectory at Naunton, I didn’t attempt to take away their stories of the garden. This is a personal response to a garden that, on the surface, may appear to be merely an extraordinary ornament, but is much more.
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Green, green grass of home
The garden by Christopher Bradley-Hole at Bury Court