Thursday, June 21, 2012

Easton Walled Garden

Yesterday I trekked to the wilds of Lincolnshire, followed my trusty (?) TomTom and after a hair-raising U-turn on the A1 reached Easton Walled Garden. The event was a formal Press Day for this restored historic garden.  Having had some experience of historic gardens and restoration, I know what mountainous tasks they can be and that such ventures are nearly always constant  money-pits. The remaining gardens of Easton Hall amount to some 12 acres, some mature grounds with trees and grass and partly newly restored. There are some fine trees and a rather grand classical bridge that spans a small river. Elsewhere there are some pretty little towers, nicely restored but also some lovely old railings and gates desperately in need of attention.  To be fair I must say there are some well planned borders establishing and some good plant associations. Between the potting sheds and the greenhouses there is a pretty little area known as the cottage garden.

The classical bridge over the River Witham
The Cottage Garden
Stachys lanata and Alchemilla mollis - simple but so effective together


The Long Border

The Velvet Border planted for texture

Lovely old rose - anyone any ideas what it is? Update - Rosa californica 'Plena' - thanks Chad for the ID.

Humulus lupulus 'Aureus' with pink rose (pink & yellow - amazingly harmonising!)

However that said, I was rather disappointed with Easton. Only when I got home and checked on the internet, did I find where the original house, demolished in 1951 stood. I somehow missed the history room which would probably have told me! Without the house or an indication of its outline, the gardens seemed rather lost and pointless. In the vicinity of the house, there is now a turf maze constructed with rather ugly ribbons of concrete. Such a pity they didn't instead mark the footprint of the house which would have helped orientate the garden.

All that remains today - skeleton of a grand garden

Old print showing where the house would have stood


The huge walled garden which gives the property its name, lies beyond the pleasure gardens and is now laid out partly as a young orchard and partly as a rose garden. The whole area is managed as a meadow with grass that is rather too lush and tall. Into this small groups of roses have been planted at intervals and sadly few of them show above the all too vigorous grass. It is a nice idea and maybe it will work as the roses mature and the grass loses its vigour in future years.

The new orchard and toolshed tower

Gertrude Jekyll pops her heads above the grass in the rose garden
Yew tunnel in the centre of the walled garden

There is a small vegetable garden laid out on a bed system which is well maintained but seems to have no relevance to the historical garden. There is a 'pickery' for growing cut flowers, complete with 60 varieties of sweet pea. And whilst sweet peas are certainly exquisite cut flowers, they are not particularly garden worthy plants when grown as cordons on rows of canes.

Vegetable Garden

Iceland poppies in the pickery

Sweet peas galore
Easton is now open to the public and you can find more information on their website President Franklin Roosevelt once called these gardens  ' a dream of Nirvana.... almost too good to be true.' Certainly worth a visit if you are in the area but don't make a pilgrimage - Heligan they are sadly not!

2 comments:

  1. Nirvana indeed! Amazing scenes and structure...the steps up are mind boggling.

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  2. It is difficult to judge the scale of the picture of the old pink rose. If I have not read the scale too badly then I think it is Rosa californica 'Plena'. I understand that this is yet another plant with a name change though and is now thought to be a form of R.nutkana.

    Chad.

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