Eastern approaches

The Chinese temple at Biddulph Grange. ©NTPL/Ian Shaw

I’m off to a garden history summer course – back next Thursday. It’s an Ashridge course called Eastern Approaches, about the various oriental influences on British garden design.

©NTPL/Ian Shaw

We will be visiting Kew (the pagoda by Chambers), Sezincote (an Indian-style country house), Fanhams (a Japanese-style garden), Nymans and Exbury (both full of exotic rarities), Batsford arboretum and of course the Regency gardens of Ashridge itself.

The 'idol' presiding over the garden. ©NTPL/Andrew Butler

These pictures are of the ‘China’ garden at Biddulph Grange, Staffordshire, which we will also be visiting. It was created in the 1840s and 1850s by the wealthy orchid-fancier James Bateman and his friend the artist Edward Cooke. Even as China was becoming better known in Europe, Bateman was content to picture it as a Willow Pattern paradise.

The 'Joss House'. ©NTPL/Nick Meers

When the National Trust acquired the gardens in 1988 with the help of the National Heritage Memorial Fund it was severely overgrown, and a lot of research and work went into restoring it.

4 Responses to “Eastern approaches”

  1. columnist Says:

    I envy you your gardening course, as I’m not a gardener per se, (a bit difficult 30 stories up), but I enjoy someone knowledgeable talking about them, (my brother for instance), and have been awestruck by the work he has done over the last 25 years where he lives in Scotland. It’s a vocation, really.

    Kew is heavenly, but oh those wretched planes!

  2. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Yes I am looking forward to knowledgeable people expounding on their favourite subjects.

    Yes Kew and the Thames path from there to Richmond is a wonderful pocket of eighteenth-century London suburbia, – apart from the ever present Heathrow-bound planes.

  3. Janet Says:

    Sounds lovely! Enjoy…

  4. style court Says:

    Sounds like it will be wonderful. Looking forward to your report when you return!

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