In 2016 The Treasure Houses of England will be marking the 300th anniversary of ‘Capability’ Brown and celebrating the English Garden. Visitors can enjoy ten of the most magnificent stately homes, castles and palaces each with its own unique garden and parkland to explore.
Celebrate the English Garden at Beaulieu. This ‘beautiful place’ has a variety of antique and modern gardens to visit. From the Victorian Flower Garden, created in recognition of the Victorians’ interest in plants and gardens, to the Ornamental Kitchen Garden which houses and abundance of apple and pear trees, potted figs and lemons, hedges of yew and purple beech as well as a traditional vegetable garden. Enjoy the manicured lawns of Palace House which contrasts with the informal Wilderness Garden, dating back to the 1700s. Beaulieu provides a colourful and varied day out for garden lovers.
Blenheim Palace sits within 2,000 acres of Capability Brown landscape. Visitors can expect an exciting calendar of activity including specialist garden tours, a new temporary exhibition, self-guided trail and guided walks. Opening in February 2016 the new temporary exhibition will share ‘Capability’ Brown’s work at Blenheim Palace across the 11 years he was commissioned (1763 – 1774) through detailed accounts of how he designed and executed such a masterpiece through photography, drawings, equipment and costumes with a selection of never-been-seen-before elements. There are 13 key vistas that will be marked out at Blenheim Palace in the ‘Capability’ Brown trail; these allow visitors to see the best examples of Brown’s designs around the Parkland. Visitors will also be able to enjoy carriage rides in the Parkland on selected summer dates.
Celebrating ‘Capability’ Brown’s longest commission, which included not only landscape gardening, but also architecture, Burghley is undergoing an extensive restoration to restore the original views and vistas he created. By re-creating the natural look visitors will be able to enjoy Brown’s landscaping vision in all its glory in time for his tercentenary, which is also being marked with a host of events and activities. Visitors can enjoy new self-guided tours of the major elements, a special exhibition staged within the House as well as a series of lectures and special group tours that will offer more in-depth exploration of Brown’s landscape and architectural designs during his 20-year association with Burghley.
Castle Howard sits in 1,000 acres of breath-taking parkland in the rolling Howardian Hills. Meander through woodland and along lakeside terraces which offer spectacular view of temples, follies and the imposing Atlas Fountain. The formal 18th century walled garden is a haven of tranquillity with herbaceous borders filled with English country garden favourites, a carp pond and shaped hornbeam hedges. In the rose garden a fine collection of roses ramble up the wall and over archways filling the garden with perfume and colour in the summer. In the ornamental vegetable garden, sweet pea wigwams sit amongst vegetable patches filled with traditional crops from runner beans and cauliflowers to rhubarb, strawberries and more.
Having evolved over more than 450 years, the 105 acre Chatsworth garden continues to change today. There is plenty to discover at every turn, including permanent sculptures to be found. The garden is famous for its rich history, historic and modern waterworks and sculptures, the Victorian rock garden and the maze. From the famous waterworks which include the 300 year old Cascade, the Squirting Willow Tree Fountain and the impressive gravity-fed Emperor Fountain, to the Maze, Rockery, Rose, Cottage and Kitchen Gardens. There are also over five miles of walks with rare trees, shrubs, streams and ponds to discover.
Harewood House will celebrate the magnificent landscape gardener, ‘Capability’ Brown with an interesting calendar of activities including a new temporary exhibition ‘Art of Landscape, which will run from 25th March – 30th November. The exhibition will celebrate the influence that Brown has extended to some of Britain’s most well-known artists. Showing works from great masters who have engaged intimately with the vistas created by Brown, visitors will be able to see watercolours of Harewood, produced in the late eighteenth century by celebrated artists including JMW Turner, Cotman, and Girtin will be displayed alongside photographs by pioneering Victorian photographer Roger Fenton, who captured the Brownian views in 1860. A contemporary response by Simon Warner will take visitors through the landscape in a new film titled “North and South”. The Art of Landscape presents a full and fresh assessment of the cultural influence of the “Capability” Brown design at Harewood.
Enjoy a celebration of the Formal Gardens at Hatfield House. The West Garden contains a Knot Garden styled to an Elizabethan design, a glorious parterre, topiary, planted borders and many fantastic flowers and shrubs. Discover the Old Palace Garden which is an intricate design, bordered by box and containing a mini-maze in one of its four sections. This garden or parterre was originally surrounded on all sides. From the Pleached Lime Walk through to the Sundial Garden, visitors can also enjoy The East Garden which is open one day per week; The East Garden was laid out by the 5th Marquess of Salisbury. This part of the Garden has elegant parterres, topiary and rare plants are a delight for the gardening enthusiast and for those wishing to spend a quiet time in idyllic surroundings.
An exciting project is underway at Holkham Hall to restore the 6 acres of walled gardens which were originally laid out by Samuel Wyatt during the late 1700s. Step through Venetian iron-work gates into one of the seven rooms whose walls within the gardens act as a windbreak and reflect the sun to create a gentle microclimate. In Victorian times these gardens would have provided a constant and varied supply of food and decoration to the hall; today Holkham’s modern vegetable garden provides produce for the family’s kitchen whilst a newly planted vineyard will provide fruits for grape juice and the table, once established. At the far end of the gardens one room has been laid to lawn with surrounding flower beds and will be the venue of the annual Holkham Plant Fair.
Leeds Castle is set within 500 acres of beautiful grounds, of which the beautiful Culpeper Garden is a must-visit. Designed by one of the greatest garden designers of the 20th Century, Russell Page the garden takes its name partly from Sir Thomas Culpeper, who bought the Castle in 1632, and partly from Nicholas Culpeper, the 17th century herbalist. The Culpeper Garden was originally the site of the castle’s kitchen garden; however in 1980 Page transformed it into a large cottage garden. With its informal layout and low box hedges as a border this very English garden features Roses, Lupins, Poppies and Lads’ Love, with exotic blooms mixed in to create a profusion of colour and scent. In 2016, the Gardening Team will continue to develop the Culpeper Garden, adding new plants to boost the variety of species and colour for visitors to feast their eyes on, particularly worth a visit in early summer when the garden is fragrant and at its tallest.
Woburn Abbey’s tranquil Abbey Gardens are open for everyone to enjoy the brilliance of Humphry Repton’s original designs. Visitors can enjoy approximately 30 acres of serene formal and natural garden environments: from manicured lawns and colourful flower beds to peaceful woodland glades and ponds teeming with life. Discover the Cone House, recently reconstructed with reference to historic plans for a menagerie in the Abbey grounds. Also, the Bog Garden with its carnivorous plants is beautiful in all seasons, and the Doric Temple, which was carefully restored last year, exudes romance and elegance. There are many other features to see as well, and the gardens are constantly evolving as restoration work continues.