As part of our Creative Wiltshire project we are considering all types of creative design and original ideas. Garden design is of interest to many people; indeed, many of us like to spend time in our gardens, particularly at this time of year as we sow and plant for the coming season.
In Wiltshire we are lucky to have many wonderful gardens; Stourhead is considered one of the jewels in the crown. Henry Hoare II created the iconic landscape garden with a lake, temples and monuments, working on the garden from 1741 for 30 years. Sir Richard Colt Hoare, his grandson, also made significant changes to the gardens. The property was given to the National Trust in 1947 and now we can all enjoy its beauty.
Harold Peto discovered Iford Manor in 1899 and combined architecture and plants in an Italian style, including a loggia and cloisters and this now provides a wonderful setting for Iford Arts to use as a venue during the summer months. This garden won the Historic Houses association and Christie’s Garden of the Year award in 1998.
Longleat House, dating from 1580, originally had an Elizabethan garden and park, but then the grounds were re-designed by Lancelot Capability Brown after 1757. In the 19th century a formal garden was added and then improved on in the 20th century by Russell Page.
Following ‘Naked Gardening Day’ on May 2nd it also seems appropriate to mention Wiltshire’s own ‘naked gardeners’ of Abbey House Gardens, Malmesbury; Ian and Barbara Pollard. Their work at both Abbey House and formerly at Hazelbury Manor near Box is inspiring. At this time of year the Abbey House gardens boast over 20,000 tulips of all sizes and colours and they produce a spectacular display. There are herbaceous borders and roses, as well as a laburnum tunnel to look forward to and the herb garden is laid out like a spoked wheel design, surrounded by fruit trees; pears, apples and cherries all grown as vertical cordons.
The garden is also home to a number of sculptures; a good example of how contemporary art can sit comfortably alongside the more traditional and provide a focal point at the end of a vista; indeed Abbey gardens is a lovely example of differing views each way you turn. It also embraces the more wild and natural planting as you walk down into the wooded valley and catch glimpses of water running through.
Other contemporary garden designers within our county include Michael Balston, based at Patney, who has used his Manor Farmhouse garden as a showcase for his work. He lectures extensively as well as serving the RHS. Another locally based garden designer that caught our attention is Nick Hood; described as an artist, plantsman and garden designer, he often works with Julieann Worral Hood and they combine their artistic skills to great effect, often incorporating painted planting schemes as part of the design process.
We are always interested in hearing of your preferences so if you have visited a garden recently that has inspired you, please let us know. We will add the information to our research and find a way of recording this ever changing creativity.