I have just finished reading the most wonderful book about the creation of a garden known as ‘The Laskett.’ In 1973 Sir Roy Strong and his wife Julia Trevelyan Oman purchased a country house and four acres, which together, they turned into what has been billed as ‘the largest formal garden created since the great war’ (that may have lost that title to the Alnwick Garden now). Well, it is large for sure, and amazing.
Sir Roy spent his career surrounded by the arts having acted as the director of both the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum. His wife Julia (who sadly is deceased) , spent her life creating set and backdrops for some of the most famous ballets in Europe. The creativity of these two found a voice and release outside of their jobs on their new property. Over time, the acreage was divided into room and avenues. Hedges were planted and garden ornament was procured, and soon, the hard work and patience paid off. One of the most unique aspects of the garden is the use of garden ornament. You will see in some of the pictures below the diversity and amount throughout the garden. Also note, that there is not fear here in the use of bright color.
What hit home with me the most, aside from the amazing garden they have created, is their patience. I am always want new plantings to be instant, and have little patience for waiting to see if the effect I had in my mind is what is correct for the site. I have always been told that gardening is a game of patience but it is a tenant that I have never heeded. It was eye opening to read about hedges that they wanted to be 8-9′ tall getting planted at 18″! And then, they waited.
Sir Roy and Julia also had the blessing of having such wonderful plantsman as George Clive and designers such as Rosemary Verey to critique their work. Rosemary became a constant friend to the two gardeners trying to create their own paradise. What they were doing was so appreciated that Ms. Verey even invited Sir Roy to trim the topiary and the Prince of Wales estate, Highgrove. This is an amazing book that I want to recommend all of you read. It is filled with advice and inspiration; if nothing less it is the story of a marriage between two wonderfully eccentric people, who lived a life worth reading about.
If you want to order the book click on the jacket cover above. If you would like to visit the garden’s website go here.