Denmans Garden - A Modern Classic By John Brooks

Denmans Garden - A Modern Classic By John Brooks
Denmans Garden - A Modern Classic By John Brooks

Video: Denmans Garden - A Modern Classic By John Brooks

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Video: Gwendolyn van Paasschen on John Brookes and Denmans 2023, January
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Imagine that your garden is a stage, where the house is its main pillar, and the garden decorations come out from behind the curtains.

John Brooks

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Denmans English Garden is located in West Sussex, near the village of Fontwell. It bears the name of its first owner, Mr. Denman, who owned the area in the 19th century. These places are a valley at the foot of the chalk hills to the north.

The next owners, Joyce Robinson and his wife, inherited the old house and garden with the surrounding lands in 1946. They sold the main house (Westergate House), and themselves settled two small houses, and ennobled the garden. The Robinsons owned the estate for exactly 50 years, and in 1997, after the owner's departure, it was acquired by the famous English landscape designer John Brooks, together with Michael Neve. Just as the books by John Brooks (and there are over twenty of them, not counting countless magazine articles) are recommended for study by landscape designers, this garden is recognized as an indicative garden, a must for schoolchildren and students.

The garden covers an area of ​​4 acres (approximately 1.6 ha). The entrance area runs where there used to be a farm yard, which has now retained its style and has been turned into a garden café for visitors, with an open terrace where soft classical music sounds.

Following Joyce Robinson, who designed the garden with minimal means, John Brooks relied mainly on the wild flora characteristic of this area, he owns the statement: "It is the use and stylization of local plants that give the garden a special flavor." A few exotic species (yucca, dracaena) are distributed so as not to disturb the illusion of natural vegetation. "The variety of plant forms and colors does not prevent you from achieving the desired harmony, just as the immediate proximity of, say, Mexican yucca and Siberian berry does not prevent you from growing strong and healthy."

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

The garden is completely devoid of even hints of symmetry. There is no rock garden or flower beds in it, which might look unnatural in the valley. Instead of large architectural forms, only small stone sculptures were used - geese, birds, figurines of boys sitting in the grass. Not only for relaxation, but also as an integral part of the design, various types of benches are installed, always in secluded places.

In caring for plants, an ecological approach is applied - they are not fed, but are grouped initially in accordance with the requirements for growing conditions. By the way, the owners themselves take care of the garden. John Brooks finds it odd to pay gardeners for jobs he enjoys himself. However, you will be convinced of its low maintenance and environmental friendliness.

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Lined with herbaceous perennials and bright annuals, the basis of the garden is formed by structural plantings of trees and shrubs, making the garden decorative and open to visitors all year round. Plants are selected with different colors and textures of foliage, so the garden looks picturesque all summer long. In winter, evergreens attract attention here, and in spring - numerous bulbs, making their way along the vast lawns (first snowdrops, then crocuses, daffodils, tulips, camassia, agapanthus and onions).

Lawns should be mentioned separately. They are of three types: some cut often, others once a month, and others only once a season, at a height of 30 cm from the ground. The combination of mowed and unmown areas of the lawn is now widely used in English landscape design and allows grasses to be naturally sown in the fall. Tall lawn grasses provide shelter for insects and small animals, giving the charm of a neglected garden. This is how John Brooks answers his own question: “Do we need these mowed lawns? What about wild grass?"

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Very delicately, without disturbing the smooth outlines of the landings and the naturalness of the garden, the paving was done - with old stone, brick, gravel filling. But more often the paving represents only hints, a hint for the visitor, where to move or not, but basically the route runs right through the lawns. We will also walk through the John Brooks May Garden.

First we find ourselves in a fenced garden. From the first steps, the designer's corporate style is guessed, here the umbrella is mixed with aquilegia and mullein, there are many fragrant plants (sage, catnip) - a joy for insects.

The winding gravel path momentarily expands into a brick-paved circle with an earthen vessel in the center. It combines the landings on the left and right into a single unit. The bright flowers of the yucca echo the weeping purple beech. A white bench surrounded by tree-like peonies, exotic fatsias and a variety of vines was set up to commemorate the visit of some famous guest. And here is another, low stone bench, covered with an artichoke, with a small tub of water nearby. Between the variegated boxwood and the purple barberry in the thickets of the catnip, a statue of a peacock lurks. The smooth course of the path is broken by the sharp corners of a labyrinthine boxwood curb - all that remains of the regular plantings traditional for a walled garden. Behind them there are obelisks that have not yet managed to hide themselves with ancient roses.

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

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Denmans Garden

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Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Through the passage, entwined with mountain clematis, generously strewn with four-petal flowers, we find ourselves on a spacious meadow with a clearly cut edge of the lawn and gravel dump along the plantings of perennials. Blooming dogwood echoes the colors of the tall yellow-coniferous yew. And the patch in the middle has recently freed itself from bulbous primroses. Looking back, you can see the bright white veranda of the cottage in the clearing of trees and bushes. And from her garden you can see right through.

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

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Denmans Garden
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Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
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Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

A piece of paving interrupts the path and points to an opening in the fence that overlooks nearby farmland. It is surrounded by the most common vegetation for these places so that the landscape looks natural and makes up a single picture. Behind him, the lawn is colored in places with tiny pinkish flowers of the small-petaled Karvinsky, filling niches under the crowns of shrubs. And even hogweed (not our malicious Sosnovsky hogweed, of course) is used here as an ornamental plant. From here we get to a picturesque bean-shaped pond with a sculpture of a seated boy, through the thickets of pseudo-airy iris dreamily observing the water surface. The same house that the Robinsons sold once overlooks the pond.

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

A lawn trail leads along the northern fence of the garden, which is densely covered with woody vegetation (both decoration and protection from the northern winds). And here is the same unmown lawn with a blue bench under the birch opposite. Under the old plane trees - already a whole visual illustration of geoplastics by mowing the lawn according to John Brooks - here are all three levels. One of our "favorite" weeds - to runny, now serves as a background to the agapanthus, which have already shot their flower arrows. Magnolia blooms, and then - cistus, the flowers of which turn pink so well against the background of forget-me-nots. The yellow and red leaves of the maple trees make each other even brighter, not overshadowed by the gray foliage of the perennials below. Red-brown geraniums on the left and Himalayan geraniums on the right frame the path in the best traditions of an English garden. Nectrocordum spreads its drooping flowers over the unmown lawn,and on the other side, the path narrows inward to a magnificent tree and shrub group, where the viburnum covered with white foam inflorescences, knocking out a birch, now focuses. Purple-leaved, red-leaved and yellow-leaved plants are planted in perspective so as to create small color spots, but do not cover the light greenery of birch and other plants.

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

The edge of the meadow abuts one of the most interesting landscape objects in this garden - a dry stream, decorated with forget-me-nots, bows and multicolored milkweed. Due to the use of stones of different fractions, a complete illusion of a washed-out dry channel is created, across which a stone bridge of a beautiful wavy shape is thrown. The blue forget-me-nots, symbolizing water, is echoed by the bench seen in the distance, which we have already seen passing by. On the left, the imitation of a stream imperceptibly, thanks to water irises, passes into a real arcuate reservoir with weeping trees on the other side and folded viburnum, beloved by the British, with horizontal, fan branches, covered in two rows with upward-directed shields of inflorescences. The path to the right is another example of paving, with sleepers and gravel backfill.Such rhythmic elements visually widen the path and very well diversify the soft lines of the natural garden.

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

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Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

A bridge across a dry stream leads to the opposite bamboo thickets, the oriental sound of which is enhanced by painted bamboo verticals lined with ferns. A gravel garden, but not alpine plants grow in it, but moisture-loving plants. The stones in it are various - on the edge of the fragments of rocks, and deeper, among the vegetation, tuff of a porous structure, overgrown with moss, resembling moss bonsai.

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
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Denmans Garden

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Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

The bending of the lawn to the left indicates a tree-shrub composition, in which yuccas look like some hooliganism, but their rosettes of leaves soaring above the bushes look gorgeous. And they are protected from cold weather by other plants very well. Purple and yellow-leaved plants are neatly included in the panorama, and the sheared variegated boxwood is harmoniously combined with the cone-shaped green. Under the blooming trifoliate hoisia there is a small sculpture of a boy. It seems that we are in the depths of the garden, but in fact - in the very center of it and are already moving towards the exit.

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

The main tree of the garden appeared - a giant metasequoia, towering over a perfect lawn. To the left, the path again leads to the far corner, surrounded by plain vegetation. In this, the darkest place, the transparent openwork crowns of birches are most appropriate. Following this path, we find ourselves in a secret garden. At first it is damp here, everything is overgrown with moss - both a brick fence, and a small urn with a spread cotoneaster. But the secret garden itself is flooded with sun - both the blue bench and the miniature parterre opposite. Meyer's lilac blooms unusually magnificently here, but the bare branches of a small tree that did not have time to dissolve the foliage greatly decorate the composition.

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Along a side-paved path, past a blooming red camellia, we go out onto a large lawn opposite the cottage, with white wisteria tassels hanging from the walls and decorating a patio with an openwork metal table and chairs. This house is the creative laboratory of John Brooks, perhaps it was here that most of the thousands of landscape projects he carried out around the world were born.

A round reservoir with water lilies coming to life separates from the house. Nearby - exotic spurge and yucca again. On the right is an old apple tree, behind which you can see a greenhouse. The branched southern cordilina, towering in front of it, seems to indicate that there is a home of heat-loving plants. But at the same time, the greenhouse is not heated at all. Nearby is another greenhouse for plant propagation. The exit is visible from here, but one more part of the garden, behind the cottage, has not been examined.

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

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Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

We pass the magnolia "backstage" into a cozy courtyard, where the tower of the clock house entwined with ivy becomes immediately visible. The wall of the cottage behind is completely hidden by lush vegetation. The courtyard consists of three lawns streamlined by gravel paths. It's just a poultry yard here! Charming stone birds perched on a tree stump near the path. The geese on the lawn walk imposingly, as if they were alive, and together with the clock tower of the houses give the area a truly English patriarchy. Under the tree is another sculpture of a boy. She, like others, is somewhat hidden from view, in order to look like she was put as if by accident.

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

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Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Well, that's the whole garden, which is dominated by the general principle of expediency. Remained a trading floor, which, as it turned out, compares favorably with those seen in other English gardens. Lots of garden decorations in the owner's taste decorate the counters with plants here. It is no worse than a garden, demonstrating the landscape predilections of the author of world best-selling landscape design. See for yourself.

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
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Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden
Denmans Garden

Denmans Garden

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