Friday, 4 July 2008

KNOBBING AROUND IN OXFORDSHIRE















Being the small but perfectly-formed and erudite bunch of garden visitors that you are, I'm sure you'll recognise this pic as being of Broughton Grange garden. 

Designed by Tom Stuart-Smith, it often gets referred to as one of the finest gardens there is - this, for example, is from the Good Gardens Guide: "one of the most significant and scintillating gardens to be created in Britain this century."

I had wanted to go there for about four years. I just got back. While still there, I rang my mum from the rootery, explained where I was, and whinged, "I feel vaguely disappointed."


















There are two possible explanations. One is that my expectations were just way too high.

Yes, okay. But arguably my expectations were way too high of Blackpitts, and it still managed to make me fall in love. 

The other explanation is that it's not me, it's the garden. 

This garden looks fabulous through the viewfinder, I totally concede. But I am concerned about my lack of strong impression of either the owner or the head gardener. When I go to a garden, I want to feel the strength of the maker's character. This can be a series of makers - at Kew you have Princess Augusta and her crazy garden buildings, and Tony Kirkham and his big trees... it all makes for a strong personality. 















Broughton is disappointingly not like that. Everything was lovely. Everything was exquisite. It just didn't hypnotise me, silence me, seduce me. 

(Or even make me laugh, which is also good.)


Am I being really weird to hope that a garden could do this? I know that it happens to me all the time. But I can't explain why one garden does it, and another doesn't. I just want the garden to overpower me, to transport me to some other way of thinking. I've seen gardens in styles I should have hated, and come back converted. But all that seemed to be missing from my Broughton experience. 



The closest it got was this thoroughly romantic moment.

















Has anyone else been there and thought similar or different?

2 comments:

Miss Cocktails said...

that statue has got testicles the size of canapés

emmat said...

exactly.