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A forgotten corner becomes a garden re-imagined

January 1, 2013

Here at The Vyne we are constantly reviewing our priorities and plans centred around conservation, renovation and development of the property. Projects often have to wait their turn on our short list, sometimes for many months or years before surfacing into reality. Planning authority, budgets and conservation concerns are but a few of the hurdles.

Over the course of 2012 our team of staff have been busy overseeing various projects and improvements to the property and gardens. This with the view to making your time with us that much more  interesting, enjoyable and exciting. Always our aim is to enhance our properties while staying true to the spirit of the place and it’s heritage. Not an easy balance to strike but none the less challenging and exciting for the staff and our volunteers alike.

A little history

To the rear of the stables between the mid 18th century and the present day there has existed an enclosed garden [formally known as ‘little’ or ‘lesser’ kitchen garden] which during it’s 250 year history has gone through several transformations. To day it is somewhat neglected and seldom seen except for occasional visits by staff and volunteer gardeners tasked with it’s basic upkeep.

1756~1840s – A walled garden existed around the Summerhouse and was referred to as the ‘Kitchen Garden’ presumably this may have supplied the needs of the kitchens with fresh seasonal produce and perhaps herbs in addition to that from the primary walled vegetable garden situated near the lower lake. It was laid out along formal lines with beds and paths.

1872 – A subdivision of the this garden came into being creating what is still known as the ‘Staff Garden’.

1880s – The Walled Kitchen Garden is converted into a Flower Garden by Mrs Wiggett Chute who also removed the path walks.

1911 – The current subdivision of the old Walled Garden into the present day Staff Garden and Summerhouse gardens becomes clearly depicted in the archives. By 1960 the current boundaries are clearly visible on local OS maps.

1998 – Records show that a swimming pool was removed from this area and the resulting hole filled up and grassed over.

->2002 The area known as the Staff Garden is used by staff on occasions for privacy from the public and other domestic functions.

2002 ~ 2012 Apart from general maintenance the garden is little used.

A garden re-imagined.

The time has come  for this little secret garden to rise again and step into the lime light. Providing a place for adventure, especially for families and our younger visitors subject to the usual planning permissions.

During the coming weeks between late November and  February 2013 the area will be awash with activity as the landscapers and developers move in to create a children’s adventure play area with something to fill everyones imagination.

At the moment the area looks a little unloved, featureless and lacking in colour and structure as you can see from the image below. Here you can see the Summerhouse building to the far left in the image and the stables area to the far right.

The Hidden garden awaiting the arrival of our landscapers – Nov 2012

However over time this Hidden Garden will be transformed into an area full of colour and texture provided by a forest of bamboo of various species, secret entrances and tunnels, ferns, ornamental grasses, fragrant plants and wildflowers. There will be bridges to cross, hills to climb and a wooden fort to scale and play in along with other elements to create and encourage exploration and engage adventurous minds. There is even a nod towards Tolkien’s story of the Ring within it’s theme.

For those unfamiliar with The Vyne house, a little known fact. No visit is complete without careful inspection of the Drawing room. Here you will discover what is thought to be the ‘Ring’ that may have inspired Tolkien to write his book ‘The Lord of the Rings’.

Below is a plan of the area showing the basic layout and structure of the play area which will sit adjacent to the Summer garden.

The Hidden garden project for 2013

Overview of The Hidden garden project for 2013

An artists impression of part of the 'Hidden garden' project.

An artists impression of part of the ‘Hidden garden’ project.

All being well our intention is to open the new garden area which will be known as the ‘Hidden Realm’ sometime in April of 2013. So stay tuned for further updates and don’t forget to put a note in your diary to visit us sometime in 2013 for a little adventure of your own.

In the meantime the gardening crew wish you all a happy and prosperous new year.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Alan Parfitt permalink
    March 19, 2013 8:08 am

    Very commendable that Geoff goes to the trouble to produce this regularly..Informative and well written. I look forward to these entries.

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