Robert Kennett ~ Garden Designer

Garden design and landscaping from RHS Gold Medal winner
Telephone: 01747 858215

National Trust walled garden proposals

I was one of a select group of designers invited to present proposals to redesign the walled garden at Mottisfont Abbey, a National Trust property in Hampshire.

A budget of around £500k was to be allocted to this major project.

The garden I designed reflected both the modern and the old. At its heart is a planting scheme which was designed to challenge the way we look at plants and blur the lines between productive and ornamental. So crab apples are trimmed into formal hedges that line the main path. Large borders combined red cabbbage used for its stunning foliage alongside other edible and medicinal plants with attractive foliage or flowers such as chives, echinacea and globe artichokes. 

The garden is entered through a gap in a yew hedge via a tunnel of white wisteria and white flowering psring bulbs icluding Hyacinths and Camassia. On entering the walled garden a dramatic vista along a rill of water up towards the main pool is framed by pleached ornamental pear trees.

To one side a woodland path takes you through a copse of cob nut trees underplanted with golden foliage groundcover to set off a tapestry of spring bulbs in blues and whites.

At the far end a hedge of asparagus partially screened a self-service cut flower garden with tunnels of sweet peas and chocolate vine. Espalier fruit trees screened off an area for production of seedling plants. Against the south-facing wall free-standing glass panels, reflecting the substantial glasshouses of former years, created sufficient winter protection for wall-trained figs and kiwi fruits as well as succulent ground cover plants and phormiums (used to represent the old pine pits). 

At the heart of the garden is a dramatic water feature that brings together the two main motifs of Mottisfont Abbey - water and the rose (the adjoining rose garden is well renowned).  Water at the centre of a large still water pool overflows down layers of stone shaped to represent the petals of an unfurling rose. The pool is framed at the rear by an oak pergola contructe in gothic style arches (a link to the abbey and the last owner's love of the Arts and Crafts movement) which support hanging gourds in greens and oranges.