Monday, 22 July 2013
Madingley Hall 2: The Gardens
Remember when I visited Madingley Hall? Through the windows of the Saloon, I glimpsed the Gardens, laid out by the famous garden designer Capability Brown in 1756.
I couldn't wait to get out of the hall and wander through those amazing grounds.
It was a sultry summer's day. I took off my shoes and walked barefoot on the perfectly-mown lawn. There's nothing quite like springy soft turf under your soles. Absolutely gorgeous!
I don't know an awful lot about garden design but this combination of wild meadow and architectural formal bushes strikes me as peculiarly English.
Don't you just want to wander down this grassy path? Like Little Red Riding Hood being tempted into the woods?
And what do you find down in the woods? Not a Big Bad Wolf but this lovely lichen-clad statue along the Lower East Walk.
Yes, there's art in the Madingley Gardens, too. Sculpture among nature: is there anything more Romantic?
This bust of an ancient God stands at the end of the long formal grassy walk, the one with the clipped bushes on either side.
Turn around, and you will see the north façade of the Hall. It was built in the 1590s, and re-designed in 1909-10.
See the arched shapes at the bottom of the façade? And above them, the light-coloured rectangles? This heraldic bird of prey is one of them. Don't you love its stern eyes and lolling tongue?
A bit further on in the wall, we find this gargoyle.
And under the terrace, the Buddha Pond. Note also the fun beast's head.
I walked around to the south side of the building and found this Hazel Walk, planted in the first half of the 19th century.
Goldfish and lilies in a pond.
The Sunken Garden, full of white flowers.
A sundial invites you to sit and dream.
Lichen, stone, spiky grass and fatty leaves: all sorts of textures.
And a lush display of polygonatum or Solomon's Seal.
Now why does the one in my garden not look like that??
Look out for my future blog post, the third and last in the series on Madingley Hall: Murals of bears and wild boar in the turret.
Enjoy these hot summer days!
Part 1: Madingley House (and its paintings)