Tag Archives: Capability Brown

Hampton Court Palace Gardens

If hours are easily lost in Hampton Court Palace’s halls and apartments, days are easily lost in the 60 acres of Hampton Palace Gardens.

Hampton Court Palace Gardens
Hampton Court Palace Gardens

Over the centuries, many people added their own touch of beauty to the Hampton Court Palace gardens.

The Wilderness garden began as orchard in Henry VIII’s time. In the 17th century it became a series of intertwining paths with a maze of tall hedges. Today, only the maze remains. The Knot garden, although laid down in modern times, replicates the Henry VIII’s original.

The 13 fountains and the parterre of the Great Fountain garden were the work of William III and Mary II. The Privy, established in 1702, was King William’s private garden. The Orangery was built to nurture Mary II’s exotic collection which included cacti, orange and lemon trees.

The Yew trees were planted by Queen Anne.

The grapevine, which still yields delicious grapes, was planted in 1768 by the renowned landscape gardener, Capability Brown. The sunken Pond gardens which once held freshwater fish are now planted with flowers.

The flower beds are Victorian and the herbaceous borders were added in 1920.

The 20th century garden was converted from a horse paddock in the 1970s to train apprentice gardeners.

Last but not least, the snippet of sky on the header of this Travelstripe Blog was snapped above the Rose Garden at Hampton Court Palace.

 

The Museum of Garden History

At a busy roundabout on London’s Albert Embankment, just over the river from the Houses of Parliament is the world’s first Museum of Garden History.

The Museum of Garden History
The Museum of Garden History

Housed in the lovely old St Mary-at-Lambeth church and set in a peaceful, almost rustic     garden, it is staffed by tweedy, be-brogued gentle-folk with unmistakable stamp of the gardening enthusiast. The Museum of Garden History is quaint, other-worldly and a fascinating insight into the British passion for their gardens whether they be grand rambling parks or modest allotments.

An erstwhile baptismal alcove, just inside the church entrance is now a tiny oral history “auditorium”. It booms an whispers its stories in the corner like a tardis. Wall displays trace the history and evolution of gardens and look at the work of great garden designers like Gertrude Jekyll, at gardeners like Capability Brown and at plant collectors like the John Tradescants. One of the central displays outlines the rise and demise of one of England’s great seed merchants as well as examples of the merchandise of the house. Others house historic collections of gardening artefacts – tools, watering cans, gloves and boots along with gnomes and other curious garden ornaments. There are interesting post-war advertising posters which feature mother (with the teapot) the children (at the table) and father (pushing the lawn-mower) in the idyllic shaded garden of their grand, two-storey, unmistakably English house.

The Museum Café sells fabulously colourful vegetarian foods – salads, pastas, chunky and grainy combos, fat muffins and moist cakes, thick with fruit, as well coffee, tea, juices and smoothies.

In the rear courtyard of the church is the tomb of the John Tradescants, the famous plant hunters and gardeners to Charles I. The 17th century knot garden, which is the courtyard’s centrepiece, is planted with specimens discovered and grown by the Tradescants. Also in the courtyard is the grave of Captain William Bligh, carved with words of high praise for his distinguished service in the British Navy (No mention anywhere of the ignominious Bounty affair)

The Museum shop is crammed with charming little gardening knick-knacks, beautiful books, cards, garden produce bottled or tinned in tiny containers, toys and of course tools and clothes for the garden!