Friday, October 22, 2010

A throne is only a bench covered with velvet

I’m currently studying for an Advanced Certificate in Gardens Design. Our first assignment is a 3000 word essay on garden design principles within four eras of garden design history. We’ve learnt about Italian Renaissance, French Baroque and the English Landscape Movement, and also about design in the Victorian era. So today, inspired by our lectures, I set off to Biddulph Grange to see an excellent example of Victorian eclectic design, my mind buzzing with concepts of unity, proportion, progressive realisation and transition.

What a place. Not subtle, but a smack in the mouth – the Victorian equivalent of a theme park. The home of James Bateman, he designed the gardens as a tour of the world, so you travel from the glens of Scotland, go through a tunnel and emerge in a pastiche of China. I adored it. It’s mad. And the benches were fantastic - I got a bit obsessed. There are horse chestnut leaves and fruits, ferns and berries, acorns, lily-of-the-valley – beautiful. Who needs a throne when you have benches like these?

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5 comments:

Liz said...

Wow, they are lovely... It's so difficult to find nice benches which go beyond the usual plain wood or concrete!

Northern Shade said...

There are lots of wonderful details in those benches, so I can see how you became fascinated by them. My favourite is the one with the exquisite fern motif.

patientgardener said...

I went about 6 years back but at the wrong time of the years - mid summer after the rhoddies and before the Dahlias. My boys loved the eccentricity of the place and I really liked the Japanese garden but was disappointed by the stumpery most of which was closed. Maybe another trip is due and I will keep an eye out for those benches which are just fab

Nutty Gnome said...

I love those benches - they're glorious in their individuality!

delia said...

WOW!Wonderful, they know of ancient and romantic, with the carpet of leaves amber ... here in Sardinia benches aren't so beautiful!