Alnwick, Northumberland, U.K

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Alnwick Castle

The modern garden at Alnwick Castle dates back to its inception in 1750. The castle is the second largest occupied castle in the U.K. The first is Windsor Castle. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was renowned for the then innovative design and conservatories filled with exotic plants. The greater landscape, the rolling parkland surrounding the castle and echoing the meander of the river Aln, was designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, England’s greatest gardener of the 18th century.

The enormous, modern changes in the gardens at Alnwick are due to the vision and determination of Jane Percy, the 12th Duchess of Northumberland. Restlessly creative and with an irreverent spirit, she developed the idea to create a modern garden, a garden for entertainment, for spectacle, for education, and a safe place to play. She wanted a grand  public garden of classic symmetry and beauty, a garden for four seasons, day and night.

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One of the many fine sculptures in the Water Garden. Coanda

 

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Children playing with toy tractors at the base of the Grand Cascade
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The Grand Cascade

 

A very grand and adventurous garden indeed. And Her Grace is not without a sense of humor. Engraved in stone is Omnia, hospites, vidistis Vobis gratias agimus Nunc, fortuito mingo .

Translated from the Latin, this means Visitors, you have seen everything. We thank you. Now happily piss off.

The Alnwick Garden

 

 

 

Author: urbanehorticulture

A native of England a U.S. citizen for the past 30 years, I have worked in the garden world as a director and designer for over 35 years. I am best-known for my groundbreaking designs at Chanticleer, an estate and “pleasure garden” in Wayne, PA, where I worked for 20 years. Career Highlights I started my gardening life at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, England, where I was trained as a gardener. I worked in three other gardens in the UK, notably Portmeirion in Wales, Bateman’s in Sussex, and Cliveden in Buckinghamshire. At Bateman’s, I was responsible for the restoration of the 17th-century garden. I came to the U.S. in 1981 and was director and chief designer of Chanticleer in Pennsylvania for the next 20 years. I transformed a moribund private estate into one of America’s most exuberant, romantic and flamboyant gardens. Its glorious 47 acres have been celebrated by gardeners and horticulturists from around the world and, based on my designs, it continues to draw international visitors every season. After twenty years creating Chanticleer, I became vice president for horticulture for the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden and, in 2006, was appointed director of the VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, Canada. While pleased to be in Canada, my heart yearned for California and in 2008 he was appointed executive director of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden. After a successful period in northern California, he returned to his home near Santa Barbara, CA where I operated my own design-consulting business. In 2012, I was lured back east by The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (founded in 1827) and appointed director of its private estate and garden, Meadowbrook Farm. I was commissioned by PHS to design the central feature for the 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show, the third major exhibit I have designed for PHS over the years. Among numerous other responsibilities, I have been a member of the board of the Fairmount Park Conservancy in Philadelphia and a founding member of the business advisory board for the Flora of North America Project. I have designed gardens in Chicago, northern and southern California, and throughout the Northeastern United States. I have also been a consultant to the Garden Conservancy and to Botanic Gardens Conservation International, as well as serving on the horticulture advisory committee of Lotusland in Santa Barbara, California. I have been the Advancement Advisor for the Flora of North America Association and am now traveling the world researching, interviewing, and photographing for a book on gardens around the world. Books & Awards My n first book, The Encyclopedia of Perennials, was published in 1992 by Facts on File. I also contributed to 1001 Gardens to See Before You Die (Barron's Educational Series, 2012) and The Gardener’s Garden (Phaidon Press, 2014). In 2003, I was awarded the Professional Citation for significant achievements in public horticulture by the American Public Garden Association. In 2007, The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society awarded me its prestigious medal for Distinguished Achievement. I currently live in the Bay Area, California.

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