Tag Archive: contemporary


verti gdn by studio 'g'

by ‘Studio G’

Old School Gardener

IMG_7228There’s been a brewery and garden here since 1795. Perched on the north bank (or ‘brink’) of the River Nene in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, Elgood’s Brewery remained virtually unaltered until the Second World War.

The established Victorian garden was ripped up and as much land as possible devoted to growing food for the war effort. After being turned over to grass for many years, 1993 saw the discovery of some old photographs of the original garden and it was decided to both restore some of the old spaces and features and to create new areas.

The structure of the garden today owes much to the framework of superb specimen trees which survived over the centuries; Ginkgo, Cedrus, Liriodendron and Salix to name but a few. These were mainly provided by members of Wisbech’s famous banking family, the Peckovers, who themselves established a grand Victorian garden a few paces down river at what is now called Peckover House.

Some important features such as the maze (of Thuja and Laurel and featuring old brewery and garden objects as focal points), walled garden, Japanese garden, rockery, water features, glasshouses and herb garden have been recreated. These are complemented by a modern grass and bamboo garden with contemporary water features. And there are typical Victorian ‘swags’ (ropes) over which climbing roses clamber as well as arbours featuring two varieties of hop (‘Fuggles’ and ‘Challenger’) – both of which feature in Elgood’s beers.

The modern additions have added to what is a typically eclectic mix of curiosities and attractive garden features. Well worth a visit, and can be combined for a full day’s outing with nearby Peckover House and the Georgian town of Wisbech.

Hops- ornamental and useful for brewing too!
Hops- ornamental and useful for brewing too!

Further information:

‘Banker’s Bonus- secret garden gem 

Oranges in the Fens

Elgood’s website

Old School Gardener

This is the fourth in a series of ‘snippets’ that try to capture the essence of a particular garden style. today, ‘modernist’ gardens – I prefer this term to ‘contemporary’ as it is less laden with connotations of what is deemed to be ‘fashionable’ – so a more neutral term, hopefully!

Modernist gardens are crisp and clean. They rely on scale and proportion to provide a dramatic setting and there is simplicity and an absence of ornamentation or embellishment. They often have a strong geometric layout and are open and uncluttered. Sharp lines – whether straight, angled or curved – reinforce the contrast between verticals and horizontals, which are created by the use of structures (walls, pergolas, arbours, seating etc.) and planting (especially those with strong ‘architectural’ forms). Other key features include:

  • asymmetry

  • subtle but clear changes in level

  • modern materials (e.g. concrete, steel, glass, plastics)

  • planting in blocks

  • contemporary furniture

  • reflective water

Let me know what you think makes a Modernist style garden, and if you have some pictures I’d love to see them!

Sources and further information:

Jilly Welch article on modernism

Living-gardens.co.uk

Other posts in the series:

Formal Gardens

Mediterranean Gardens

Cottage gardens

Old School Gardener

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