We were planning our journey to the North Norfolk coast to visit a couple of RSPB nature reserves and were seeking somewhere to visit on the way. We came across Boughton House marked on our map so googled it to find our more. We were so glad we did! The buildings were of a beautiful simple architectural style with French influences. Even the stable blocks impressed. Soft gentle lines and delicate grey-brown coloured stone.
We discovered that the grounds around the house were sculpted in the C18 in an unusual manner and recently more landforms were added by Kim Wilkie, a modern landscape architect and one of our favourites.
But to get to the grounds we passed through a courtyard of cobbles and gravel which featured some subtle planting combinations in containers. The strange alien-like fruits belong to the grey leaved plant, which was completely unknown to us.
Off into the parkland and we came across long avenues of lime trees and huge canal features, constructed way back in the C18. These original features were supposed to have been inspired by Versailles.
Of course the problem with all these sloping areas of grass is mowing them. When originally conceived the landowners would not have required their grass to be cut as short as modern gardeners want. So their scythes were perfectly up to the job. The gardeners at Boughton today use ingenious remote-controlled mowers with caterpillar tracks instead of wheels to give extra grip on the steep gradients.
As we reached the far end of these long canals we passed a larger lake and gained views of the house at the far end of a vast expanse of lawn.
The modern landforms fitted so well into the original landscapes that it was hard to see identify where one finished and another started.
This stimulating piece of land art was based on the structure of the spiral in nature such as the framework that gives sea shells their strength. It gave us a feeling of satisfaction as it seemed so settled into the landscape and invited exploration.
Sitting together nearby were “The Mount” and “Orpheus”, two landforms that matched, were based on the same pyramidal shape, juxtaposed perfectly but were conceived and constructed 3 centuries apart.
Kim Wilkie’s “Orpheus” is a hole in the ground which mirrors “The Mount” in both shape and dimensions.
Although it was along way down to the bottom of Orpheus the path that led you there was very gentle and seemed almost level. Without effort we easily found ourselves at the bottom looking into the black water of the square pool.
To understand the scale of the landform, see if you can spot Jude, The Undergardener in the two photos below. Clue – she has a blue-grey jumper on.
Next we climbed “The Mount” which was the exact opposite experience. It afforded us a different perspective on the landscape through which we had walked.
Boughton though had more to offer. After a quick coffee break, with cake as well of course, we explored the more intimate gardens closer to the house. But that is another story for my next posting.