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?