Friday, July 22, 2016

Garden Ramblings

A knot garden at Haddon Hall in England designed by Arne Maynard
From his new book The Gardens of Arne Maynard

"There is no Frigate like a book to take us lands away, nor any coursers like a page of prancing poetry."
-- Emily Dickinson

After spending an hour lost in the pages of the beautiful new garden book The Gardens of Arne Maynard, I understood the meaning of Emily Dickinson's quote. I was given this book by a dear friend for my birthday and when I finally got around to looking through it, I felt as if I had been on a trip to the East coast and Great Britain and toured some of the most magical and romantic gardens!

London-based Arne Marnard grew up in rural Dorset and began gardening while still a child. He considers himself more gardener than garden designer. That may be the case, but after reading this beautiful book you will realize what a talented garden designer he is. Wherever the property is located, he is able to read the land and create harmonious landscape designs. He is known for his large country gardens in Great Britain and is celebrated for his ability to draw out the essence of a place. He can design in any style -- a beachside retreat filled with dune grass and scrub, a knot garden on an Elizabethan estate, an intimate manor-house garden enclosed by a yew hedge. They are the stuff of fairytales.

A few years ago he moved to Wales with his partner and created a beautiful garden there. His new book covers twelve of his gardens, including that of his home in Wales. They include an Oxforshire manor, an East Hampton beach house, an Elizabethan estate, a farmhouse in Devon and a rambling mill house in Wiltshire. One of the things I love most about the book are his detailed essays about the elements that go into his creations: roses, kitchen gardens, borders, topiary, craftsmanship, and pleached, pollarded and trained trees. These sections are very informative and useful to any gardener. The craftsmanship section is especially interesting regarding the materials he favors for plant supports and structures. He prefers to make them "from local materials in order to establish a connection with the surrounding landscape and with its traditions." I also love what he has to say about roses. "I use the rose -- one of my favourite of all flowers -- in three ways: to clothe buildings and soften walls; to add impact and weight in mixed borders with its blowsy, perfumed splendour; and in the wilder parts of the garden, bringing unexpected sophistication to a meadow or tumbling through the tree canopy in great frothy cascades." Yes, I agree, roses bring romance to any garden!

If you love gardens, be sure to get a copy of The Gardens of Arne Maynard. It is a treasure trove of information as well as inspiration.  It is the first book devoted to the work of this talented designer. Not only will it inspire you with ideas for your own garden, but you will be transported to some very magical places. His poetic writing about gardens will sweep you away. Pour yourself a tall glass of iced tea and beat the heat by immersing yourself in this book. In the meantime, take a look at the photos below and enjoy a little tour of his beautiful and evocative gardens. Arne Maynard understands the notion of garden as sanctuary and retreat.

Beach house in East Hampton, New York

17th-century farmhouse in Devon

Oxfordshire Manor

Haddon Hall in Derbyshire

Allt-y-bela, Arne Maynard's home in Wales 

Stay cool this weekend!


  1. I have that book and I love everything about it.

  2. Looks like a wonderful book to escape into!

  3. Breathtaking🌿🌹🌺🌿🌸🌳🌳🌳🌺🌹🌳🍃

    OFF TO BUY the book for me and a DEAR friend in AUSTRALIA!

  5. Totally in love with the Kitchen Garden Sunday.
    I'm hoping I'm the Australian friend the Contessa is going to buy this for!!!!
    Ha Ha.
    Gorgeous post
    Thank you
    Anita xx

    1. Oh how funny, Anita! I bet you are. You will love this book!

  6. The book looks fantastic. Does it have good inspiration for gardens with less land? I always find that a problem with garden books, living in LA on more postage stamp sized lots.