Friday, September 22, 2006

Hestercombe landscape garden

Source: Wikimedia Commons

At Hestercombe Gardens they have been rebuilding some of the eighteenth century features. So for example, it is now possible to admire a 1996 replica of the 1770s replica of a Tuscan Doric temple. The landscape garden was designed by the owner of Hestercombe, Coplestone Warre Bampfylde, between 1750 and 1786. It is an anthology of eighteenth century themes – a Great Cascade, a Gothic Alcove, a Witch House and a Temple Arbour – but with some very beautiful views both within the garden and out to the Vale of Taunton. When we visited we stood for some time admiring the sunlit Box Pond, humming with dragonflies and reflecting the surrounding wooded slopes. There was a small group of people sitting on the opposite bank who we assumed were sketchers, but who turned out to be having a break from work renovating the garden. This misconception felt a bit like a lesson in the perils of the picturesque… but it was hardly a glimpse of what John Barrell would call the ‘dark side of the landscape’: the labourers we saw looked like volunteers having a thoroughly rewarding time bringing the old garden back to life.

5 comments:

aurelia said...

It should also be noted that Hestercombe Gardens were worked upon by Gertrude Jekyll and Lutyens between 1904 and 1909 when they were at the height of their powers. Jenny Uglow in her 2004 book entitled 'A Little History of British Gardening' describes the gardens:

'In their best gardens, as at Hestercombe in Somerset, the dream of the formal past found a new 'harmonious, flower-filled present. Hestercombe was restored in the 1970s after years of neglect, when it became the headquarters of the Somerset Fire Brigade, and some of Jekyll's planting plans were found in a shed. Today it feels an enchanted place, a Queen Anne-style garden with a sunken "Grand Plat", orangery and walled Dutch garden, and massive pergola with spreading views across the Devon countryside. To double the pleasure of a visit, in recent years the eighteenth-century woodland garden made by Shenstone's friend, Coplestone Warre Bamfylde, has been discovered and restored behind the house, bringing to light a magic valley with rills and lake and temple among the trees.'

snarlerson said...

Your blog reminds me of the efforts the great landscape owners went to to the enhance the picturesque by inserting human figures. A servant would be made to pose as a shepherd within view of the drive when an important visitor was expected. Gilbert White built a hermitage and persuaded his brother, the Reverend Henry White, to play the part of the hermit to entertain his guests. Perhaps the Hestercombe volunteers were part of this old tradition.

snarlerson said...

Your blog reminds me of the efforts the great landscape owners went to to enhance the picturesque by inserting human figures. A servant would be made to pose as a shepherd within view of the drive when an important visitor was expected. Gilbert White built a hermitage and persuaded his brother, the Reverend Henry White, to play the part of the hermit to entertain his guests. Perhaps the Hestercombe volunteers were part of this old tradition.

Plinius said...

Thanks, Snarlerson. Here are some lines from Gilbert White's poem, 'The Invitation to Selborne':


Oft on some evening, sunny, soft and still,
The Muse shall lead thee to the beech-grown hill,
To spend in tea the cool, refreshing hour,
Where nods in air the pensile, nest-like bower;
Or where the Hermit hangs the straw-clad cell,
Emerging gently from the leafy dell;
By fancy plann'd; as once th' inventive maid
Met the boar sage amid the secret shade;
Romantic spot! from whence in prospect lies
Whate'er of landscape charms our feasting eyes;
The pointed spire, the hall, the pasture-plain,
The russet fallow, or the golden grain,
The breezy lake that sheds a gleaming light,
Till all the fading picture fail the sight.

Hestercombe gardens said...

Thanks for sharing this post. Hestercombe garden you feel Love and romance in you when you visit it.In Garden nearly 70,000 people visit per year.Enter through the chinese gates. Woodland walks, temple, waterfalls, Victorian Terrace planted in lavender. Timings are 10am to 6pm.Entry fees are Adult £7.50 , 2 Children free with each Adult.