Saturday, 27 April 2013

NGS Garden Visit: The Bishop's House, Keswick

This garden has opened just three years after work started on a major overhaul of a site in the middle of town squashed between the church, the Vicarage, Castlehead medical centre and some houses. There's an article about it here.  Setting aside the usual difficulties of on-street parking in Keswick the weather was extraordinarily kind and I had an interesting hour nosing around someone else's garden which is always a good way of spending some time!





The garden is in two very distinct and different halves.  The formal part is next to a classic slate-faced Lake District house.  The elevated building is imposing and dominates the plot.





Around the boundary are informal areas in a woodland style mainly comprising beds surrounding mature trees (beech?) which are edged by lumps of wood and larch slab - very "Bag End".  Bark paths connect the beds which are mainly planted with spring flowers and bulbs.  Add a pond, magnificent compost bins (all of which appeared to be full of leaf mould, yum yum) and a greenhouse/vegetable area and on paper this should have been a garden that I took root in, only to be dug up and thrown out when it got dark.



 







Trouble is, I didn't like it;  at the time I did not know why only that I had a distinct feeling of unease.  Even though there are benches dotted around the garden the last thing I wanted to do was sit in it.  It took a lot of cogitating back at home and a long chat with Management to try and work out why the garden had provoked such a strange reaction.

Eventually I came to the conclusion that much of my problem is that the garden felt disjointed and contrived.  There are two very different styles going on and they didn't sit well together in this plot.  The contrivance is that the woodland areas were lovely, but just too lovely - too perfect.  Not a leaf out of place nor a weed in sight, it was all just so neat and tidy.  Heaven help an unruly ground-cover plant or a sprawling shrub! Perhaps it is a garden which needs to grow up a bit and relax? 



It was interesting, although sad, to hear a chap mutter very grumpily to his wife "if we had an open chequebook and an army of helpers we'd have a garden like this too".  So I wasn't the only one to leave with a sense of disappointment.


6 comments:

  1. I'm sorry, I thought we WERE looking at Bag End! LOL So organized, so many paths, lovely plants... I guess you had to be there to 'not like it'. Wonder why it didn't set well with you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kris, I am still thinking about this garden because you're right, there are so many elements which could be Bag End that I ought to have loved it. Very strange.

      Delete
  2. Funny, how things don't gel, but it looks quite nice in pictures. I sometimes think that photos only tell half the story. I'm sure you'll visit other gardens that mean more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, you're right - the garden in these photos does not look/feel like the same one I visited.

      I've had the same thing happen at quilt shows and I always try to work out why I don't like something rather than just moving on; I think you actually learn more if you can analyse your reaction.

      Delete
  3. So was Daisy allowed in or wouldn't she have looked tidy enough?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sue, it would never occur to me to take Daisy garden visiting but I suspect if I had tried she wouldn't have been allowed - not that sort of garden:}

      Delete

So there I am, chuntering on to myself, but it would be lovely to hear from you. Thanks to all who take the time to comment - it makes my day :)

and I always delete spam - my blog, my rules :-}