Kilver Court Gardens - Somerset Mystery

Kilver Court Gardens - Somerset Mystery
Kilver Court Gardens - Somerset Mystery

Video: Kilver Court Gardens - Somerset Mystery

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Video: Great Gardens of England Kilver Court Shepton Mallet Somerset 2023, February
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This beautiful garden is located in the heart of the English town of Somerset, on Kilver Street. Interestingly, the word Court can be translated both as “court” and as “aristocratic”. Both are absolutely true in relation to him.

It was founded at the beginning of the last century by the industrialist Ernest Jardin (1859 - 1947), simultaneously with the lace weaving factory. In 1907, the factory employed 128 workers, and the owner took care of them nobly, conceiving a magnificent park area. A pub and a school for children of lacemakers were added to the mill that had been there. There was game in the ponds and pleasure boats cruised. In the garden, fruits and vegetables were grown to feed the employees, and those who wished were given allotments for their own needs.

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This idyll ended in the 1920s, when the economic depression set in and production was closed in 1929.

In those days, this place was better known as Jardine Park. A great background for it served as a huge Charlton stone viaduct, 300 meters long, built in 1874, which was part of the Somerset-Dorset railway. Once one of the most grandiose overpasses in the country, it ceased to function in 1966, as a very "slow and dirty", just a little short of its century. Now it is the main attraction of the garden, which gives it a monumental antique background, making the landscape unreal, as if descended from the pages of ancient engravings.

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Together with the brick wall on the left side of the house and the ponds on the right, the viaduct has created a closed space, a kind of secret garden that is not visible when you approach the house. But here everything is thought out from start to finish. At the modern entrance, an unusual parking lot is impressive, completely entwined with overgrown ivy, hiding the simple geometry of the building.

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When you get inside the garden, the first thing you see is a small classic tetragonal parterre of sheared boxwood, surrounding rose bushes, in a sundial in the center. The time had not yet come for the roses to bloom, and they were covered with inflorescences of decorative bows and scarlet poppies. The parterre is slightly submerged, a couple of steps lead to the terraces above, surrounded by curly walls of sheared yew trees and colorful mixborders.

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From here, from the benches, the viaduct is clearly visible, but the beautiful large rockery created by landscape architect George Whitelegg is hidden from view. It was brought here after winning the 1950 Chelsey Flowers Show, where it was awarded a gold medal. Rockery appeared under the new owners, but more on that later.

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The viaduct occupies a slightly raised part of the garden, and this makes it seem even more majestic. A small slope is formed at its foot, where the rockery is spread. You can wander around it endlessly, admiring the perfect combination of vegetation and stone, discovering rare representatives of flora, admiring artistic strokes of living colors.

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For more than half a century, it was nurtured by four gardeners, and now it appears as a mature landscape work. The main element of rockery is a water cascade, which is split into two arms that flow into the mill pond. Rare forms of conifers, multi-colored rhododendrons, purple palm-shaped maples, cinquefoil, lumbago, little familiar to us chiastofyllums, dryads, carnations, saxifrage, geraniums, cereals, various ferns, candelabra primroses and hosts near rockadia-piercing streams and cascades and skillfully inscribed into the landscape every detail!

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Fascinating combinations of stone and greenery, ringing jets of water make you admire every corner for a long time. The rich colors of spring, the abundance of yellow coniferous species make the spectacle fabulous. And it is probably no coincidence that this place was chosen to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll's quirky literary masterpiece Alice in Wonderland. It is known that the bronze statues of Alice, the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat, which won at the Chelsey Flowers Show-2014, have recently moved to this garden, bringing it more mystery.

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Between the aisles of the viaduct there are manicured lawns with benches for privacy. And on the other side, a most picturesque picture opens towards the factory house. Although it looks industrial, it does not violate the patriarchal order of the entire inner space of the garden.

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The entire garden is small, only 3.5 acres (1.4 ha). A large part of the area is occupied by a lake and a mill pond. In some places their banks are embedded in concrete and fenced off. You can walk around the water along a stone fence, making your way under old trees and vines, getting confused by the colors of a riotous pink rhododendron, and get to the old mill.

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From here it remains to return to the parterre and go to the other side of the garden, where an unusual old vegetable garden has been preserved. Arranged on a high retaining wall of large stone, the vegetable garden consists of ridges edged with wood, on which spicy greens were just beginning to rise at the end of May. The local café, which is housed in an old factory, serves Organic Food and local cider.

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Cider, the national English drink, is worth a special mention. The Showering family has owned the Somerset land on Kilver Street since 1843, and have succeeded in everything. Starting with brewing, in 1947 it created its own branded drink - Babycham cider, which is still produced today. It was he who allowed to earn funds for the purchase and development of Jardine Park when its former owner was in a difficult financial situation. In the 60s, the new owners began a successful revival of the garden; the same rockery, the winner of the Chelsea exhibition, was laid here. The current owner, Roger Saul, has carefully maintained the gardens and made them open to the public and we now see Kilver Court Gardens as they are. Perhaps this is the rare case when alcohol undoubtedly served for the good of people …

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