Bury Court Barn, in Bentley near Farnham, was chosen for the launch of a new book called The Historic Gardens of England: Hampshire. Co-written by Timothy Mowl and Jane Whitaker this is the latest in a series of books by Timothy Mowl which look at the development of gardens within the context of an individual county.
In Hampshire there is an abundance of riches.
The Historic Gardens of England: Hampshire
The ‘Hampshire’ volume is the 12th in the series of The Historic Gardens of England (ISBN 978-0-9930554-4-7) available from the author (Email: email@example.com).
The series covers gardens mostly in the Southern Counties but includes Cheshire and Staffordshire. This is a unique series and there are more volumes to come, Buckinghamshire is next to follow in 2018.
The book is not currently available in bookshops but can be purchased directly from the author for £19.95 + p&p. Author Timothy Mowl is a Professorial researcher at the University of Buckingham and has written extensively, and controversially, on architectural themes. Jane Whitaker is his co-author, Stephen Morris, the publisher.
Gardens at Bury Court, Bentley near Farnham
I attended the launch as I had the privilege of guiding the authors around the grounds at Hursley Park last year as they researched the gardens that would later feature in the book.
The book itself is structured chronologically, with each chapter looking at Hampshire gardens and gardening within the context of a particular historical period, from medieval to modern. This approach allows a reader to dip into their favourite historical period or progress through the ages, allowing the reader to understand the particular characteristics of gardening in each period and how each generation transformed the landscape around them.
However, although detailed, this is no dry scholarly tome and does not focus on just the well-known ‘grand’ gardens. Each chapter looks at an illustrative set of gardens from a period. Often the examples given are less well-known but nevertheless represent some of the finest gardens in England ranging from Launcelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s landscapes and Gertrude Jekyll’s Arts & Crafts inspired ‘Cottage’ gardens to modern restorations and historically inspired gardens.
The result is often a revelation as to what is on our doorstep. This combined, with the numerous colour and black & white illustrations of original maps and garden designs alongside photographs of the gardens today make the book a fascinating doorway to a landscape we often take for granted or simply miss as we rush by.
Bury Court is a modern garden, developed from a former nursery and walled. It is open only on certain days so check first if you want to visit. Some of you will remember Bentley from a delightful TV series on village life which was aired a few years ago. If you drive the A31 you may remember the slow section through Bentley which, for years, had signs saying ‘Bentley Needs Bypass’. Well now it has one and nobody goes there any more unless they wish to visit some of the excellent pubs.
The garden is quite small and a section of it is described as being designed by a ‘minimalist’. Nature is never minimalist so it would be interesting to see how nature responds to a minimalist designer.
Talk in Winchester
If you would like to know more, Timothy Mowl is giving a talk on 19th May at the Winchester Guildhall for the Hampshire Gardens Trust about the book under the title: ‘From Grene Mede to Dream Meadow’ Discoveries in the Hampshire Landscape’.
More information, tickets and pre-order copies of the book are available from the Hampshire Gardens Trust website.
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