Yesterday I visited a beautiful NGS garden with some friends. An inspiring grotto, feeling secluded despite being surrounded by houses on two sides and a school on the third, the garden has a deep sense of peace. The planting is subdued, with green being the dominant colour. Having said that, roses were just beginning to open, and the occasional allium or aquilegia peeked from the greenery, with Nectaroscordum siculum elegantly dangling above the foliage.
The garden is formal in layout, with a central axis delineated by clipped box. Within that formal framework, with its quantity of neatly clipped box, the garden relaxes. The occasional buttercup is allowed to flower, and grasses soften the edge of one of the many small water features. Statues of pagan gods and gargoyles peek out from foliage, or are placed as focal points, without ever making the place feel ‘busy’.
A visit to a large open garden can be very enjoyable, but few of its lessons can be taken to our own suburban back gardens. This small garden, however, had many lessons to teach which might be applicable to a ‘normal’ sized garden. I am certainly looking at hedging in a new light, less as something which would ‘eat’ two feet of space all round the garden, and more as something which can hide the garden boundaries and create a feeling of green seclusion.
It is a beautiful garden and I can certainly see my friends and I returning next year for a fresh dose of cool green inspiration.