Multum in Parvo

After so many comments on my last blog takes me further into garden design history in this blog I hope it helps the garden lover in all of us.

We have talked of Vita and Major Lawrence Johnston as garden builders. Here I give you the main reliable start of Arts and Craft Movement in garden build all over England.

It is why so many gardens exist in UK . We first look at the books read by gardeners in the 1880s. Thomas Hayton Mawson 1861-1933, who made a business of a nursery in Bownness Windermere Cumbria but who designed many gardens in the world .In 1892 he published a book entitled “The Formal Garden in England.”

It was perhaps the greatest influence of all of them. Gardens sprang into being all over England.

We also must add a church architect called J.D. Seddings 1838-1881 who gave us many good ideas of garden use.

Then the real champion of Arts and Craft must be William Morris .A wallpaper designer and garden enthusiast. Morris was famous in all sorts of design for the interior but gardens to him where rooms outside.

Arts and crafts is a style that suits me even now. It is clean cut using local materials stone brick and it stood against the then modern run of the mill factory made items of full production. The layout was simple using hedges and spaces and vista work .It could be classical or modern for its day. House designed and built for arts and craft garden makers to buy are perhaps the most beautiful ever built using the ideal plan of light and gentle bright rooms.

Morris was a leader in this and many followed him read him and studied reading books or Mawson who was the real influence on Vita and Lawrence Johnston. Along with many others large or mid sized garden s all work in this style.

Johnston even had a tall gate made to set in front of the sinking red sun with the sunset shining orange red through its frame lights up the way down the avenue of tall hedges boxing that light in .The result is terrific to witness and shows what can be done with an idea. He did much that same at his French house at Seire de Madone at Val du Gorio outside town of Menton France. Hidcote he left to National Trust and it was the first gardens they accepted to retain. It made its designer owner happy as Hidcote will live forever after his demise. All garden builders must think this way or would we want the work of building a garden large. I think in the end Johnston was a man who really offered his work to G-d.

As did the craftsmen of our middle ages think the same or we would not have so many master pieces of architecture as we have now.

Prince Charles went on about good architecture and less concrete buildings without a soul. He was mocked by the architects but he was right all the time. Best buildings are the work of craftsman and that should be treasured and loved by the public as own heritage. To make the land productive is a pure thought. For a gardener who makes to blades of corn out of one must be seen as a blessing on all of us.

The back breaking art of design build is not for everyone perhaps but what is made once the work finishes is a garden. The planting up in fresh turned manured borders is the thrill after work is over . It is not easy ever but the real enthusiast will not flinch or dither .From a plan in head or set down many times and perfected on paper the work commences. Today it is a one man with some help job .Then in 1880 Edwardian England the rich who built gardens brought in teams of men and horse to do the job. The modern garden plan is similar to that but loosing none of its ideas and adding many more through power of electricity and such we build our way through it all.

I as a hobby designed a few gardens for others on paper plans at weekends after work. It paid not that well all the time as people are hard to please but it gave me the will to find the land and build my own my way.

Good gardens besides the plantings must have height to give climbing plants a place, Tellis gazebo and arched walk . It must have places to sit and relax . Benches near lily and rose bush in the main drive a rose bower and mermaid pool fountain. Avenues to stroll down and interest around each corner to make you walk to the next room. Mine is a folly in centre with three lanes off it .vistas and benches and statues of Rome. The hidden rooms,some are linked to stroll through each one see the flowers and mixes of colours . Come to a hedge and find the way out is a challenge. Once discovered leads you into a rose tunnel dwon to a tall gate and into another lane of hydrangier and yarrow mixed with green path between 12 foot wide. This takes you down to the Dial garden room .A resting place of soothing plant colours and a bench to sit and see borrowed vista of far off fields and wooded hill. A window looks out through the hedges .

From here into the pool water fall garden from that into the wild flower meadow and back to the main gates . a gentle passage takes half hour .A good look at each work may take you two days as always some change by natures plan.

If Vita sat and looked at her gardens as I know she did her mind gave her the answers as my mind relates to this way of expanding the dream of invention and perfection thus may come.For a gardener is never fully happy with the way they have gone. Always another plant to go in there and change that into this and move that over here ,now thats better,for now.

Dont know why we are such but all gardeners have to create I have found none of us are still for long .Some have to build and move on from greatness to try another design in another garden as with Major Lawrence Johnston did in France .Vita bless her built rooms to satisfy her longing to find the best plan she could build. She achieved this in spade fulls so did Johnston in between army wars and service to England he planted hedges and left for France to fight in South Africa Boar war .He returned to see his hedges grown and went on to design the gardens until called up to fight First World war. He survived but was so damaged it changed his life. He went on to build at slower pace on on Englands best gardens . He was born In France became a nationalized English man and died in France building his new gardens.

What then is it in our human state that forces us to build gardens. This is the question that haunts me. One that no real answer explains it. Is it man wishing to get back to Eden and G-d. Is it more simplistic we are hunter gathers and forest is our historic home. We cleared the trees to plant food. Gardens in fact we had then.

Gertrude Jeakle came later but till in that arts and craft design club .Her work can be seen all over Britain with partner in business Edmund Lutchens who went on to build Government buildings in design and parctise in Colonial India.

Could it just be we are timid animals in older age and around us want walls for total privacy. A world of our own sort of ideal. Some lovely colours some gentle water sounds on hot days .A pleasant view to see. Or is it part of all this and more? We could simply say we love plants but that in its self cannot be the whole reason we can grow in pots a garden if that was all it is. Something perhaps to leave you with to have a think as to why you love gardens .More so who you are and why want to build and own one is the deep down question.

If we look at great Italian gardens built by Cardinals bustling to impress to win the race to be Pope we loose all faith in gardening as it is not a competition to my mind.

To have a garden built to your exact designs is a to me a greater thing than owning a new Jaguar Sports car in life. So what is it that makes us tick us garden worthies. Because it is painting in flowers .It is art and skill and woodwork and metal work and machines. It is planing it is watching seeds grow to be planted out as part of me. It is hobby that takes up all of my time building it. It never ends really as always the eye sees improvement. To sit and take this picture in is perhaps pride in my art. Then we are told pride is a sin. So is gardening a prayer ,yes it is .And there it is my answer to myself at long last .

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