Design, In the Garden, Travel Notes

Collector Earl’s Garden

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As I put the finishing touches on my newly re-designed Woodland Garden, I’m reminded of how invaluable it is to visit other gardens. Observing how other gardeners garden and very importantly, the special projects that they take on, is always instructive as well as inspirational. Case in point…the Duchess of Norfolk, who tapped Julian and Isabel Bannerman, known for their innovative creations (they’re a favorite of King Charles) to design a contemporary take on a Jacobean garden at Arundel Castle. The Italianate piece of theater, known as the Collector Earl’s Garden, is a breathtaking paen to tulips, deliciously carrying out the passion for this spring beauty that both the Duchess and head gardener, Martin Duncan, share.

Siting is always a question…where would one position this creatiion within the 40 cares of gracefully rolling hills surmounted by a magnificent castle?

Quite naturally, the backdrop presented itself…the town of Arundel’s Cathedral, a complement to and recalling the castle’s architecture, overlooking a two acre grass maze planted with red tulips and white daffodils.

It is a cozy courtyard this Italianate Terrace,

set off by a long pair of hornbeam-covered, wooden lattice tunnels.

The pond, which interrupts the tunnels, is bordered by carved wooden columns and bold urns; the Duchess hand-gilded the crest and agaves in the urns, adding an elegant note which the sunlight captures.

The terrace also includes a very “Bannerman” statement, a wooden facade with its overdoor and column capitals set off with sun bleached antlers.

Here as at the pond, the gray wood is enlivened by an exubearant collection of varied potted tulips….bold blocks of color placed judiciously to be admired as these brightly colored gems sparkle in the spring sunshine.

Memorable, to say the least!!

Is it any wonder that the genesis of this spring’s England trip was inspired by the Tulip Festival at Arundel Castle in West Sussex?

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About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

11 thoughts on “Collector Earl’s Garden

  1. Bettie, if you ever decide to take a group on a garden tour adventure I’d be the first to sign up! This was almost as good as being there in person.

  2. Gorgeous! Question: Did you stay at the Dorset Square Hotel as you planned? Would you recommend it for a solo woman traveler? Thanks very much.

  3. Ditto to Ellen and Jody! I’ve long thought that it would be such a treat to tag along on one of your English adventures. Now that I’m about to have a British son-in-law it will be even more enjoyable to explore his home country!

  4. Bettie
    I hope to see you at The Flower Show next weekend at Marble House…the new venue for the show!
    I will be showing my global fashion jewelry and accessories: Valerie Peyton Horn Collection. It has been years since we saw eachother!!

  5. Oh, to be able to see through your eyes, as every shot would be a future painting. How did I miss those divine antlers tucked in the pediment?

  6. The last parting photos are more than memorable, simply stunning! Thank you for sharing!!

  7. I just brought a women’s group on our English garden tour, with the highlight being this extraordinary garden. Lovely to relive the experience via your blog

  8. Bettie, the Brave!!
    You are truly one of the very best gardeners, hostesses and interior designers in America.
    Please come back to Newport Beach, CA, Decorative Arts Society and bless us with your photos, projects and brilliant narratives.
    You, are missed

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