I am reading quite a bit of Monty Don’s books recently. He is a very good writer, in fact when he was younger his passion was writing above all else. He is very honest, and it makes for compelling reading.
So far in ‘The Jewel Garden’, his diary of the creation of his current private garden, he has described the ups and downs of his life, the boom and bust of his jewellery business, and now to creating the garden of his dreams. He describes choosing the foliage and flowers in this garden to reflect the jewellery he and his wife used to make – high impact magentas, blues, golds and oranges, which create a stunning effect.
However…I am now at the part where he describes the garden layout – very formal and gridlike, the structure provided by paths and hedges to create interlocking borders edged with box. I am reminded of something a feng shui expert I met once said to me – that the small flower beds at Hidcote Manor, arranged in an intricate pattern, enclosed by box hedging was her idea of a feng shui disaster! No energy flow!
Monty has gone one step further with adding in pleached walkways, and from what I can see, lots of very tall beech and Yew hedging splitting up the garden. There doesn’t seem to be many, if any, open expanses of lawn. I am all for hedging of all kinds, and classic parterres and knot gardens for example are beautiful, but I do wonder if Monty’s garden has a bit too much of a good thing; looking at the aerial view, I feel the effect could be claustrophobic….?