The Collector Earl’s Garden
Posted by editor on Tuesday, 14 August 2012
Earlier this year we visited the amazing gardens at Arundel Castle in West Sussex.
Before the present 18th Duke and Duchess moved permanently to the Castle in 1987, the gardens had been largely neglected. Over the intervening years the Duchess, together with the head gardener, has transformed the 2 acres allocated to the gardens. The centerpiece of this restoration is the new formal garden, conceived as a light-hearted tribute to Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel (1585-1646), known as ‘The Collector’.
It is set in a third of the area of the Georgian and Victorian walled kitchen garden and was designed by the very creative Isabel and Julian Bannerman (www.hanhamcourt.co.uk), with the enthusiastic support of the Duchess.
The garden is divided into formal courts with a centre canal pond and tufa-lined cascade. It is quite unlike anything we’ve seen before, a wonderful mix of eccentric grandeur and rusticity, and rich with historic references.
The domed pergola and fountains are based on those seen in the garden vista in the background of the famous Mytens portrait of the Countess of Arundel and are constructed from green oak giving a somewhat robust rustic charm.
The grand centre piece is the rockwork ‘mountain’ planted with palms and rare ferns to represent another world, supporting a green oak version of ‘Oberon’s Palace’, a fantastic spectacle designed by Inigo Jones for Prince Henry’s Masque on New Year’s Day 1611, flanked by two green oak obelisks. This contains a shell-lined interior with a stalagmite fountain and gilded coronet ‘dancing’ on top of a jet of water.
The garden has many less grandiose areas and details too. There’s a stumpery (very much a Bannerman trademark), and a pleasantly informal kitchen garden with its restored glasshouse – and even a living willow arbour (they must have got that idea from The Garden House, no?)
We loved its restrained planting, completely over-the-top green oak statuary, honest rusticity and humorous (even kitsch sometimes) charm.
Admission to The Collector Earl’s Garden is included within the standard admission prices. To find out more: www.arundelcastle.orgLost the plot. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.