-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

inspiration from Lyvden New Bield

A few weekends ago, when we drove up north to collect the armchairs, we stopped off en-route at Lyvden New Bield.

This is a National Trust property that I've wanted to visit ever since seeing it on an episode of 'Hidden Gardens'. It consists of a very atmospheric ruin over 400 years old - except it's not a ruin, it just was never finished! It's designed full of Catholic symbolism in the measurements, carvings, etc. Quite extraordinary.
Lyvden New Bield

There is also an Elizabethan garden, one of the oldest gardens in England. It has huge spiral mounds, laid out in a grid and surrounded by rectangular waterways to make a sort of moat.
Lyvden New Bield garden Lyvden New Bield garden

These mounds are seriously big! They were built from scratch using the earth from digging the moat. To give you an idea of their scale, this is me standing halfway up one.
Lyvden New Bield garden

Overall, the garden had an interesting feel to it - unnatural and yet organic combined. In an odd way, it reminded me a bit of Casa Battlo, the wonderfully unusual apartment designed by Gaudi in Barcelona. (by the way, the photos don't do Casa Battlo justice... I hated it in photographs but standing in it I fell in love)

I was curious to see this garden in person because it's a very different sort of garden to the most. It uses earth shapes as much as plants for effect. The only other garden I've heard of like it, which we're going to attempt to visit in May (on the one day each year it's open to the public) is the Garden of Cosmic Speculation. I'm intrigued by the idea of creating giant sculptures out of earth; it might be interesting to experiment with something like this at Amherst.

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